Croatia’s Kramaric thanks Herdman for motivating team with ‘eff’ comment

Owen Hargreaves and Nat Coombs look at Canada's 4-1 loss to Croatia and Germany's draw with Spain, Julien Laurens reviews Morocco's shock win over Belgium, and Les Ferdinand, Marc Bircham and Gus Poyet debate the pros and cons of a winter World Cup.

In the end, it was the Croatians who got the last word.

After thrashing Canada 4-1 in their World Cup match on Sunday, Croatian player Andrej Kramaric had some pointed words for his opponents and, more specifically, head coach John Herdman.

“I want to thank the (Canada) coach for the motivation. In the end, Croatia demonstrated who eff’d whom,” Kramaric said, through an interpreter.

Herdman had raised the ire of the Croatians after his team fell 1-0 to Belgium in their opening match, despite outplaying them. Asked what he’d told his players after that match, Herdman said: “I told them they belong here and we’re going to go and eff— Croatia. That’s as simple as it gets.”

The Croatians took note, and got the last laugh.

Speaking post-match, Herdman said he didn’t mean to disrespect the Croatians, and took the blame for not being more composed when he made that comment.

“No [disrespect] at all. I could’ve been a little composed coming out of the huddle, but that’s my learning, I’ll take it on the chin,” Herdman said.

But Herdman taking some heat did not end there.

After Kramaric spoke, Croatian manager Zlatko Dalic also took issue with some of Herdman’s behaviour, saying the Canadian team manager didn’t shake hands with him following the match.

“Whether I lose or win, I always see the other coach. He was not there and that’s his way of doing things. He’s obviously mad,” said Dalic. “He is a good coach, he is a quality professional. It will take some time for him to learn some things.”

Herdman did not address the handshake post-match.

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