Friday May 17, 2002
World-Croatia as strong as in '98, says Kovac
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ZAGREB, Croatia (Reuters) - Croatia's World Cup squad lacks the
individual talent of the team that won bronze at the 1998 finals in
France but still has the quality to do well at this year's tournament,
Bayern Munich defender Robert Kovac.
"That (1998) generation had (AC Milan midfielder) Zvonimir Boban, the
head, creator and mastermind of the team. Now we no longer have such a
player but we are a whole that stills know how to do the job," Kovac was
quoted as saying in Friday's Vecernji List newspaper.
"I am therefore convinced we are not weaker than those who got the
bronze," he said, adding the team's "minimum ambition" was to get
through to the second round.
Croatia face Italy, Mexico and Ecuador in the group stages of the
tournament which starts on May 31.
"All we need is a little luck to repeat the 1998 feat," Kovac said.
Kovac is likely to pair up with Inter Milan's Dario Simic at the back,
after central defender Igor Tudor of Juventus dropped out at the last
moment to undergo ankle surgery.
"I actually prefer that system, the four-man backline, with two full
backs and two wingers, that way the wingers can switch into the attack
more quickly," the 27-year old said.
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