By Brian Homewood
MOSCOW, July 10 – Croatia defender Dejan Lovren’s nightmare club performance when he faced Harry Kane and Tottenham last October is irrelevant, he said on Tuesday as he prepared to take on the England striker again in Wednesday’s World Cup semi-final.
Lovren has been a rock for Croatia at the World Cup and did not want to dwell on the memories of his performance for Liverpool against Tottenham where he was substituted after 31 minutes in a 4-1 defeat.
Lovren was at a fault for the first two Liverpool goals, with Kane scoring one and setting up the other before going on to complete a hat-trick.
“I don’t know what to say. It’s completely irrelevant to talk about one or other defeat against Tottenham,” said Lovren when he was asked about the game. “Why didn’t you ask me about my good performances instead of nitpicking?”
“I have nothing but respect for Harry Kane…he is one of the best strikers in the English Premier League,” he said. “He’s one of the great (England) threats but he is not alone. It’s going to be a difficult task for all of us.”
Lovren said that Croatia would not feel any ill-effects after being taken to extra-time in both of their knockout matches against Denmark and Russia.
“It’s not the same if you play two 90-minute games, but I believe we have had ample time to recover, and we are professional enough to know who needs what in terms of recovery,” he said.
“I’m perfectly fit and ready and I can say the same for my team mates. We know what is at stake, and in such moments you forget any fatigue you may feel because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” (Reporting by Brian Homewood; Editing by Hugh Lawson)