Croatia's head coach clings to the rosary as team makes it to the finals

Croatia’s head coach clings to the rosary as team makes it to the finals

After running victoriously through a string of soccer powerhouses in the 2018 World Cup tournament, Croatia will play France in the championship game on Sunday.

One reason why Catholics could be rooting for the small Central European country is the fact that Croatia is a deeply Catholic country, and the coach of its national team, Zlatko Dalic, is a man of sincere faith.

Dalic said recently that his current success is due to his faith in God, and that he always carries a rosary to hold onto in difficult times.

In an interview with Croatian Catholic radio, Dalic spoke about his faith, saying “Everything I have done in my life and in my professional career I owe to my faith, and I am grateful to my Lord.” He even added, “without strong faith and that motivation, it would be very difficult to achieve it.”

Dalic explained in the interview why he always carries his rosary with him, saying “when I feel that I am going through a difficult time, I put my hand in my pocket, I cling to it (my rosary) and then everything is easier.”

Coach Zlatko Dalic celebrates after Croatia defeated England 2-1 in the July 11 semi-finals game. (Photo from


Regarding the expectations of the Croatians for the success of their selection at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, Dalic indicated that “I know what our people expect, how many people love Croatian football and our team.”

He stressed that “finding the good in life always brings satisfaction, happiness, a result. Man must always be honest with himself and with others. ”

The 51 year-old coach was appointed head coach of the Croatian national team in October 2017. During his youth, he played on Croatian soccer teams, among them Hajduk Split, Inter Zapresic and Varteks Varazdin. He finished his career as a professional soccer player in 2000 and started coaching Croatian teams.


This article originally appeared in ACI Prensa. Translated, adapted, and updated by Catholic News Agency. Edited for My Pope website by Aizel Dolom.
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