Stanković worn out after Croatia resist Romania
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Victorious Croatia coach Mato Stanković said he felt "drained" after his team resisted a late onslaught from Romania to open their Group A campaign with a tense 2-1 victory.
Article top media content
Mato Stanković, Croatia coach
I feel drained, it's as simple as that. There was a lot of pressure on us and we didn't expect so many people to attend. Plus, for many of my players it was their first match in a competition such as this. We didn't start very well but after we scored the first goal everything was better.
We defended very well in the last seven minutes when it was five against four [Romania employed a flying goalkeeper], but we didn't do so well on a couple of corners and we didn't stop the Romania No2 [Florin Matei]. We knew he was their best player and in the first half and he was very dangerous for our goalkeeper [Ivo Jukić].
Until now we've only concentrated on Romania but tomorrow when we wake up we'll focus on the Czech Republic. We'll look at some DVDs and we'lll know the best way to go forward.
Jakov Grcić, Croatia goalscorer
It is an amazing feeling to score the winning goal in the first match of the tournament − I dedicate the goal to all of my team-mates. We've prepared for this all year, done a lot of training, played many matches and worked very hard. I've never played in front of 8,000 fans like tonight; this was amazing and they helped us a lot, especially in the last five minutes when Romania played without a [recognised] goalkeeper.
Dario Marinović, Croatia goalscorer
This was the first big tournament for many of us, so we had some problems at the beginning of the match. As it wore on we were able to relax and play better in front of this big home crowd. This is a big win for us. We now have a few days to recuperate, prepare for the Czech Republic and try to get yet another win.
Sito Rivera, Romania coach
We played too slowly and didn't apply enough pressure. Consequently, the result is correct. We must respond against the Czech Republic. We were nervous and lost possession too often. Croatia, being at home, were more motivated than we were.
The first game in an important competition is always accompanied by nerves. This doesn't change a great deal − we‘re only down slightly on goal difference − but we must win against the Czech Republic and then everything will be OK.
Gabriel Dobre, Romania defender
We were the better team at the beginning of the match but couldn't score during this period. We had our chances but Croatia got the first goal and managed to preserve their advantage.