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Conte and Kovač pleased with a point

Both coaches came away from San Siro happy with a point, but Croatia boss Niko Kovač was left with more regrets after feeling his side "had our chances" to defeat Italy.

Perišić bemoans missed chance

Italy coach Antonio Conte pleased with team's "commitment"
• Niko Kovač felt Croatia "had our chances" to win the game
Goalscorer Ivan Perišić happy with draw despite spurned opportunites
Match report: Italy 1-1 Croatia
Next games: Bulgaria v Italy, Croatia v Norway (28 March)

Antonio Conte, Italy coach
It was a tough match; we knew we were facing a very good team with talent and experience. I'm happy with the answer my team provided. During the game, we also had to change something tactically because of Manuel Pasqual's injury.

I appreciated our attitude. Despite difficult moments, my players showed commitment against a very strong team. We can improve a lot. Our first aim is to qualify; meanwhile, we have to build the new Italy by improving our technical qualities. I'd like to say thanks to our fans here at San Siro for their support.

Roberto Soriano, Italy midfielder
We knew it would be a difficult match and that they are a quality side who could make things difficult for us. We did well to keep things tight and not give them too many chances during the tough moments in the game. When you consider those parts of the game, it's a good point for us.

[On coming on in the 28th minute] You always need to be ready when you are on the bench. During the week, things went well and everyone was available to the coach. These things happen so you always have to be ready.

For me it has been a wonderful day [to make my debut]. I was born and raised in Germany so playing for Italy today is a dream come true. The boys have made me feel part of the group ever since I was called up. They had plenty of advice for me and told me to remain calm. Also, this evening when I went on, some of the boys really encouraged me to stay calm and told me to do what I know. This call-up has allowed me to rub shoulders with champions in training and improve my game.

Simone Zaza, Italy forward
I think it was the most difficult game we have played so far. We knew that Croatia are a very good side with some formidable players. However, we were good as a unit and I think we could also have won the game. Now we have time to prepare the game [against Bulgaria] in March.

I made the assist for the goal after winning the ball in the box with a bit of luck. I tried to work hard for the team. We did not create many opportunities, even if their goalkeeper did very well to save my shot [early into the second half]. I think the best part of our performance was our never-say-die attitude because we needed character today. I think we're showing more and more character and I believe it's very important for this squad.

Niko Kovač, Croatia coach
I have to be satisfied after such a performance from my team. It is a pity we did not win and I am a bit sad because of that, because we had our chances and we were dictating the tempo during the whole match. Italy played at home. I knew they would play defensively, but I didn't expect that they would withdraw so deep in defence. We were looking to make some extra space and get an extra man in the play by playing on wings.

We had our chances to win this match but we did not score that second goal. Ivica Olić's shot in the first half was cleared from the goal line and Ivan Perišić had a really big one late in the match. But we have to be satisfied: if somebody had offered us ten points after four matches ahead of qualifying, we would happily have taken it.

Ivan Perišić, Croatia midfielder
We dominated the match for almost the whole 90 minutes. We could have defeated Italy but we can be satisfied with a draw. We have ten points after four matches and we can be happy with that form. I had a big chance a few minutes before the final whistle – it's a pity the ball did not go in the net, but we did a good job in Milan.

Mateo Kovačić, Croatia midfielder
It was a difficult game and Italy are always hard to face. I like playing in the support role where I played tonight, but it's up to the coach where he wants to play me. I can learn a lot playing alongside [Luka] Modrić and the rest of this team.

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