Croatia defender Dejan Lovren has said Brazil players’ celebratory dance after scoring goals is not disrespectful, ahead of their World Cup quarterfinal clash on Friday.
However, the veteran centre-back and his team are aiming to prevent the five-time World Cup winners and tournament favorites from getting a chance to celebrate. “Our goal is to try to stop the whole team, of course Brazil has a lot of individual quality, we are ready for that fight,” Lovren said at a news conference on Wednesday. “Honestly, everyone can do whatever they want to celebrate, I have no problem with that. “I don’t see any disrespect. I think Brazilians were born with songs, with dances, it’s part of their culture.”
Lovren has played with several Brazilians during his time at Liverpool and current club Zenit St. Petersburg, and says they have exchanged messages. “I think I’ve been in contact with all the Brazilians I’ve played with, except for the guys we’re playing in two days, they’ve wished me good luck,” Lovren continued. The 33-year-old defender agreed that Tite’s men are the favorites to win the clash at the Ciudad Educación Stadium. “They are the favourites, but we don’t have a problem with that,” Lovren said.
Lovren has played alongside 20-year-old Josko Gvardiol in the Croatian defence, and says the RB Leipzig centre-back is much better than he was when he was the same age. The defender recalled the days when he started in the national team, along with players like Josip Simunic. “I learned from everything they did, maybe they were tougher on me than I was on Josko,” Lovren said.
“Of course I try to talk to him as much as possible, give him constructive feedback. He has great quality, he is way ahead of me at 20 years old, it is not surprising that all the clubs in the world are interested in his services”. Croatian midfielder Mateo Kovacic says the team must play both a physical and a technical game against Selecao.
“We are used to very tough physical matches in the Premier League and that is something we want to show against Brazil,” added the Chelsea midfielder. “We want to show our technical quality as well, but we want to show our physical quality in every duel, in every possession.” Croatia’s defensive midfielder Marcelo Brozovic was not in training on Wednesday but is expected to face Brazil while Borna Sosa returned after illness.