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Croatia's Coach Says Team is Positive, Focusing on Next Match (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
Croatia's coach Niko Kovac said that his team is positive after his team's 3-1 defeat to hosts Brazil in their World Cup Group A opening match
Although Brazil's poster boy Neymar scored twice and Oscar added a late third as the hosts came from behind to beat Croatia, the match was marked by a controversial 71st-minute penalty which was awarded by the Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura for a supposed foul by Croatia's defender Dejan Lovren on Brazil's Fred.
The penalty proved to be a turning point as it was converted by Neymar to put hosts 2-1 up. Immediately after the match Kovac slammed the referee's decisions, but the next day his comments were toned down, emphasising that the team was "positive about looking forward" to their next group match against Cameroon.
"My impression is still the same, we lost two points, we could have picked up one. However, everything regarding the referee is behind us now, we don't want to discuss that anymore, and I hope this is the last word from us on that topic, we are moving on. So, we will focus now on our next opponent, which is Cameroon," said Kovac at the team base in Praia do Forte.
"We can be optimistic, because the football we showed yesterday was really excellent. Unfortunately, not much was said about our good tactical play and our skills in comparison to everything that went on around it, but that's how it is. We are positive about looking forward and I am convinced that if we continue (playing) like that, that we can certainly finish among the two top teams that will progress through," Kovac added.
Kovac was also asked about the condition of Real Madrid star Luka Modric, who was fouled by Luiz Gustavo and seen limping off the pitch after the game against Brazil. "Luka remained in Salvador, the doctors stayed with him at the hospital, he will undergo an MRI scan or ultrasound examination, and then we'll see about his condition. He suffered a pretty hard blow to his foot, God forbid that it caused a serious injury," Kovac added. Modric is one of the most important players in Kovac's squad and losing him to injury would be a huge blow to Croatia's hopes of progressing through the group stage in their matches against Cameroon and Mexico.
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"Croatia's Coach Says Team is Positive, Focusing on Next Match "