FIFA World Cup Today Matches

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The Young And Fearless Niko Kovač

The Young And Fearless Niko Kovač

Still young and inexperienced, Croatia’s top brass and former team captain, Niko Kovač is put under test of managing their national squad. How far can he take Croatia in the World Cup?


On fulfilling a new role

Kovač already had some experience in leading Croatia. However, his leadership is more felt when he was on the pitch, kicking the ball, defending their squad from the opponents—it was more of taking the physical aspect of the match rather than creating new strategies on the field.


But several days before Croatia engage in a do-or-die battle against Iceland, the squad’s former captain was called to help the team again. Igor Štimac has just submitted his resignation. His dwindling popularity caused by Croatia’s lackluster performance resulted to a fulfillment of what he labeled as “the right thing to do.” And while Štimac has been already relieved of his moral burdens and obligations, a budding opportunity opened right before Kovač’s eyes.


“Setting up the team”

Kovač barely made any changes in the squad. The new manager made it clear that no major changes will come into place. But his admission cannot be immediately dismissed as a sign of incompetence, but rather, a manifestation of his straightforward and practical approach towards the squad’s future.


In an interview, he stressed that he wanted to “set up the squad correctly.” It was as plain and simple as that. There were no suggestions of modifying the formation or of giving the players a new role. Instead, it was more of recognizing the team’s strength and looking for creative ways to maximize it.


While other managers spend hours of formulating experiments on the pitch, Kovač took advantage of what they had and flourished it. He knew that even the best strategies shall not work if the squad remains in a disorganized and dismantled form.


He then turned to incorporating a winning attitude to the squad. And fortunately, their efforts paid off.


The Switzerland friendly

Kovač’s efforts to establish the squad was tested during the Switzerland friendly, which ended in a draw.


Obviously, the newly appointed coach was far from being satisfied during the result of the first half as the Swiss got the upper hand.


But then again, the effect of a successful squad reorganization was better felt during the second half when his members took advantage of creating chances and converted.
Despite the draw and despite having no bearing on the result of their upcoming World Cup matches, Kovač was cognizant of their shortcomings, which, hopefully, can be addressed soon.


Marching into the Maracana

Kovač is aware that they are pitted against one of the tournament’s heavy favorites, Brazil.


Yet, instead of allowing fear to take-over, the young coach felt honored to be grouped with a great squad—a display of an attitude that is prevalent amongst certified champions and football kings.


Image Source: Udarno

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