Croatia boss Dalic says Herdman must ‘learn some things’ after avoiding handshake

Canadian head coach has used some industrial language towards the Croatia team in his pre-match comments before seeing his side lose 4-1

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Croatia boss Zlatko Dalic said his Canadian counterpart John Herdman refused to shake hands following his team's World Cup win that puts them on the brink of qualifying for the last 16.

Dalic saw his side come back from Alphonso Davies’ early strike – the Canadians’ first goal at the men’s finals tournament – to win the Group F encounter at the Khalifa International Stadium 4-1 on Sunday.

Before the match, the Croatia head coach had urged his opposite number to show some respect after Herdman told his players to make life uncomfortable for their opponents in industrial language.

Dalic said: “I did not see the other head coach after the match. Whether I lose or win, I always congratulate the other head coach.

“He wasn’t there and that’s his way of doing things. He’s obviously mad. He is a good coach, he is a high-quality professional, but it will take some time for him to learn some things.”

A second successive defeat means Canada will be going home regardless of the outcome of their final game against Morocco.

Asked if he regretted his pre-match comments, Herdman said: “I could have been a little more composed coming out of the huddle. That is my learning. I will take that on the chin.”

Davies’ second-minute header prompted a concerted fightback from the 2018 beaten finalists, who levelled through Andrej Kramaric and went ahead courtesy of Marko Livaja’s strike before Kramaric and substitute Lovro Majer completed the job.

Canada's head coach John Herdman. AP Photo

Victory left Croatia at the top of the group on goal difference, level on four points with Morocco, who had earlier provided the tournament’s latest shock when they beat Belgium 2-0.

Dalic’s men face the Belgians in their final group game on Thursday knowing a draw will put them through, although they will leave nothing to chance.

He said: “It will be a difficult game. It’s a World Cup, there are no easy games. It will be a difficult match. Belgium need to win, but we will also aim for a win.

“We will not calculate, we will not make any other plans. This is going to be a difficult match.

“We have to get some rest, we have to prepare, we have to repeat what we presented here today, good football, rapid, fast football, a disciplined approach.”

Updated: November 28, 2022, 5:45 AM