Dejan Lovren says that Croatia’s successful gameplan to isolate Lionel Messi in their 3-0 World Cup group-stage win over Argentina proved that the world’s greatest player was “stoppable” and predicted his nation can go further than the country’s 1998 semi-finalists.
The Liverpool defender was at the heart of a fine Croatia performance that limited Messi and controlled the pace of the game, with three second-half goals from Rebic, Modric and Rakitic.
Lovren said: “I believed, from the beginning, that we could do it. When we are really like a defending bloc, together, they didn't have big opportunities to be honest. We had a couple of them, Mandzukic and then Perisic, we had a couple of chances and, like I said, when we defend together, like a team, we will always have our chances.” Asked whether he was surprised as how peripheral Messi was, Lovren said: “No, of course we respect Messi, because he's the greatest player in the world, but he's also stoppable. But not against one player. We defended like a team and this is how we did it. Together. You saw it. He didn't have many chances, and it was, I would say, brilliant defending."
"I said we can do it, of course better,” Lovren said.
“When you look on the team sheet we have better players than 20 years ago. It doesn’t mean anything if we don't perform well. If we are like this, through all the tournament, I believe we can go far.
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