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Lovren aims to follow in brother Dejan's footsteps

"I want to be like him – to succeed in football," Davor Lovren, scorer of the goal that secured Croatia's quarter-final place, told UEFA.com of his brother, Liverpool FC's Dejan.

Davor Lovren, a direct, pacy presence on the right of Croatia's midfield
Davor Lovren, a direct, pacy presence on the right of Croatia's midfield ©Sportsfile

Lovren is a name followers of Croatian and European football will need no introduction to.

Liverpool FC centre-back Dejan has won silverware both in his homeland and during a three-and-a-half-year spell with Olympique Lyonnais and has 30 caps for the national team, three of them gained at last summer's FIFA World Cup finals.

Eleven months on from that competition in Brazil, another Lovren is cultivating a name for himself in tournament football – the defender's younger sibling Davor.

While his brother is a preventer of goals, the 16-year-old right-winger is a creator of them. Croatia's joint-top marksman in qualifying with three, he scored his first of the UEFA European Under-17 Championship finals in Bulgaria on Saturday in a 1-0 victory against Austria that secured Dario Bašić's team a place in the quarter-finals with a Group A match to spare.

Brother Dejan in Premier League action
Brother Dejan in Premier League action©Getty Images

"It was beautiful, the best feeling," Davor told UEFA.com of his 52nd-minute strike in Sozopol. "I'm very proud of the team. We've done a good job and although we don't have to win tomorrow [against Spain], we will do everything we can to make that happen. We will give our best and hope to win the competition, but there are some great teams here and it's going to be hard."

Conversation inevitably turns to Dejan, nine years Davor's senior. The mere mention of the former GNK Dinamo Zagreb player's name is enough to elicit a smile on the quiet, unassuming No11's face.

"He's always giving me advice, tells me to play my best and, most importantly, to play for the team," explained Davor, sitting out of the mid-afternoon sun at the tournament headquarters in Pomorie. "He says I should listen to him. I want to be like him – to succeed in football. The only way to make that happen is through hard work."

Dani Olmo causing Bulgaria problems
Dani Olmo causing Bulgaria problems©Sportsfile

For inspiration he only has to glance across the tunnel when Croatia line up against Spain in Sliven tomorrow. In the opposition ranks will be his school friend Dani Olmo, a 17-year-old left-sided forward who moved from FC Barcelona to Davor's club Dinamo last summer and has made five substitute appearances for the Prva Liga champions this season.

"He's young, but he's very good," said Davor, who singles out Eden Hazard and Lionel Messi when asked which players he admires. "I want to see how Dani plays because I haven't watched him much here. I hope I can make my [Dinamo] debut like him. I'm giving my best and looking forward to it happening one day."