Dalić replaces Čačić ahead of Croatia crunch match

Zlatko Dalić will oversee Croatia's final qualifier against Ukraine on Monday after Ante Čačić exited following a run of just four points from four Group I outings.

New Croatia boss Zlatko Dalić
New Croatia boss Zlatko Dalić ©Getty Images

Zlatko Dalić will oversee Croatia's crunch final FIFA World Cup qualifier against Ukraine on Monday after Ante Čačić paid the price for a stuttering end to the campaign.

Croatia appeared well on course for a place in Russia after March's home victory over Ukraine left them three points clear in Group I. Yet defeats by Iceland and Turkey, together with Friday's 1-1 draw with Finland, mean they now go into the final day with only an outside chance of top spot.

"We took only four points in the last four games and had no choice but to take this course of action," said Croatian Football Federation (HNS) president Davor Šuker as he confirmed the end of Čačić's two-year reign.

Dalić, 50, has been appointed on undisclosed terms. A former midfielder who spent the bulk of his career at Varteks, he has coached UAE side al-Ain for the past three years, guiding them to the AFC Champions League final in 2016.

Croatia are second in the group, two points behind leaders Iceland and ahead of third-placed Ukraine on goal difference. A win on Monday would guarantee a runners-up finish, with top spot available only if Iceland slip up at home to bottom team Kosovo in their final outing.

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