After stunning England in the semi-finals, Croatia is all set to play France in the finals of what is one of the most watched sporting events in the world.
From its players to its coach, all were brought to global fame thanks to the heroics they showed during the World Cup. But what many don’t know is that its coach Zlatko Dalic that led the team to their maiden world cup final has a Saudi connection.
Dalic was initially famed Croation coach Miroslav Blazevic’s assistant. Blazevic was famous for having taken the less than a decade old country to the World Cup semi-finals in 1998.
During a press conference at the World Cup Dalic said: “I am not ashamed to say I learnt a lot from ‘Ciro’ Blazevic.”
Dalic worked with Blazevic for two years before getting an offer from Saudi Arabian club Al-Faisaly in 2010. Dalic readily accepted the offer and started managing the team.
From there he moved on to Al Hilal where he enjoyed a successful stint. He was initially coaching the B team of Al Hilal but was promoted mid-season to the main team. Under his reign, Al Hilal went on to win the Saudi Prince Cup and ended as runners-up in the Saudi Pro League. Al Hilal even tweeted out a message for their former coach.
— نادي الهلال السعودي (@Alhilal_FC) July 11, 2018
In return, Dalic tweeted in support of Saudi fans.
Thank you for supporting my National team Croatia!???????????????????????? pic.twitter.com/r4m4nqxtF1
— Zlatko Dalić (@DalicZlatko) July 10, 2018