Niko Kovač praised his Croatia side after they stretched their perfect record against Azerbaijan while Luka Modrić and Andrej Kramarić looked forward to facing Italy.
Article top media content
• Croatia coach Niko Kovač congratulates players and fans after win
• Berti Vogts laments Azerbaijan's defending after conceding six
• Luka Modrić and Andrej Kramarić look forward to Italy encounter
• Match report: Croatia 6-0 Azerbaijan
• Next games: Italy v Croatia, Azerbaijan v Norway (16 November)
Niko Kovač, Croatia coach
I congratulate our players on a terrific match and the crowd on a great atmosphere. In the last two games we taken won six points and have nine in total – the situation is great. We look forward positively, but there are only three games behind us so we need to stay focused.
We pressed Azerbaijan high up the field for all 90 minutes. We created a lot of opportunities and were able to score more goals. The game was perfect. We were aggressive and strong, the way we have to play in future games. Mateo Kovačić felt a pain in the adductor so I decided to make the substitution. In his place came Ivan Perišić who scored two great goals. I hope the injury will not be serious.
Berti Vogts, Azerbaijan coach
Every Croatian attack from the wings ended in a goal. We cannot afford to concede such goals. It is something we need to work on. I have been saying for seven years that we have to be physically ready and this certainly was not the case this evening. The players should sacrifice themselves for their country.
I prepared good tactics and our training looked good. But the game was not good, the players were passively retreating backwards. All the goals we conceded came from the wings. It was not a tactical problem – with such performances it does not matter what tactics are used.
Luka Modrić, Croatia midfielder
I want to thank the fans, they were great and we felt great in Osijek – I hope they are satisfied with our performance. We have had the best start for many years and we should be happy, but we shouldn't relax. Our next match is against Italy. It is the biggest match in qualifying and I hope we will study them well and play a good match. So far we have a perfect record but there are still things to improve. The atmosphere is fantastic and we just need to keep it this way.
Ivan Rakitić, Croatia midfielder
Azerbaijan have shown they can be a dangerous opponent but we did a good job. It is important to go step by step – it was important to play well today but there is still a long way to go. We have enjoyed a dream start, but we need to keep on like this and I hope we will. We cannot relax, we need to say focused and if we are I am sure everything will be OK for us in the end.
Andrej Kramarić, Croatia forward
It was our target to score early and we managed to do it – it made our job easier. It is not easy to score six goals against anyone and they have already proven they are not easy to play against. We should be proud of this. Now we have a month to prepare for Italy and that will be our chance to show what we can do. I expect a great match. We have a perfect record after three games and we are already making good progress towards France. It was an excellent feeling to score for the national team, I will not forget it.