Croatia boss Zlatko Dalic RAGES that referee ‘tore us apart’ and makes outlandish claim that official ‘wasn’t designated the match by chance’ after Italy’s heartbreaking last-second equaliser

  • Croatia conceded a 98th-minute equaliser in their match with Italy on Monday
  • Zlatko Dalic has raged at the amount of additional time allocated by the referee
  • LISTEN to It’s All Kicking Off! on Spotify or Apple Podcasts. New episodes released every day during the Euros 

Croatia manager Zlatko Dalic has lambasted referee Danny Makkelie for the decision to add eight minutes of stoppage time in their crucial match with Italy, in which Mattia Zaccagni netted a last-gasp equaliser.

Dalic’s side seemed all but set to progress to the knockout stages of the European Championship after Luka Modric had fired them into the lead in the 55th minute, less than a minute after seeing his penalty saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma.

However, with just seconds left of additional time on the clock, Zaccagni netted a stunning leveller to ensure Italy took second place in Group B.

Knowing that two points are unlikely to be enough for Croatia to qualify for the round of 16 via third place, Dalic hit out at Makkelie.

‘The referee tore us apart the whole match, he wasn’t sent to that match by chance.’ said a visibly angry Dalic.

Zlatko Dalic has shared his anger at the amount of stoppage time in Croatia’s draw with Italy

Mattia Zaccagni equalised in the 98th minute with practically the last kick of the game

Mattia Zaccagni equalised in the 98th minute with practically the last kick of the game

Dalic doesn't understand where referee Danny Makkelie (pictured) found eight minutes to add

Dalic doesn’t understand where referee Danny Makkelie (pictured) found eight minutes to add

‘I don’t know where the referee found those eight minutes of stoppage time. I was talking about UEFA and FIFA, you didn’t support me in that.

‘But that’s not the reason, I want to say it no matter how much some people criticise me, it’s a fact. I can’t escape the impression that this is so.

‘There were six substitutions, so three minutes maximum. And it was VAR minutes, so four minutes maximum, he put eight.’

Going into their deciding match, Croatia knew they had to come away with all three points to ensure passage into the last 16.

They had started the tournament slowly with a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Spain, before a disappointing 2-2 draw against Albania, in which they also conceded a late equaliser.

While Dalic continued to not hold back his distaste and the referee and others, he acknowledged Croatia’s own mistakes that led to a potential early exit.

He added: ‘I won’t ask them for an alibi. We had everything in our hands against Albania, even now. We had two penalties, we missed them.

‘But I’m sorry and it hurts me that no one respects us. We played at three o’clock, did Italy, France, Germany… play at that time.

Croatia took the lead 10 minutes into the second half through captain Luka Modric

Croatia took the lead 10 minutes into the second half through captain Luka Modric

Now Croatia look set for an early Euro 2024 exit and the players shared their discontent with Makkelie upon the full-time whistle

Now Croatia look set for an early Euro 2024 exit and the players shared their discontent with Makkelie upon the full-time whistle 

‘This was not our tournament. The fans showed up again, a hundred thousand Croats came to Germany. Thank you to them for that. We are proud.

‘The fact that we did not go further, I will look for the causes in us. You can’t concede a goal in the 98th minute, you have to lay on the ball if necessary. Victories and defeats are an integral part of the game.’

Croatia are a side that have enjoyed much success with their current crop of players in the last few years. They finished third at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar while reaching the final four years earlier in Russia.

Away from Dalic’s anger at the officials, he expressed his disappointment at his side’s campaign in Germany.

The Croats look set for an early Euro 2024 exit after finishing third in Group B on two points

The Croats look set for an early Euro 2024 exit after finishing third in Group B on two points

‘It really hurts and will surely hurt for a long time,’ explained Dalic. ‘It’s not easy, but when we look in general there are some days when it is your day some it is not, and occasionally you lose. That is football.

‘We knew how to enjoy victories, we have to be dignified even in moments like this. I am solely to blame for the fact that we did not pass the group. Thanks to the players for this month of effort and pain. It didn’t work out for us and that’s it.’

***
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk