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European Qualifiers Group D

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European Qualifiers Group D

Strachan: Mandzukic like Messi

Gordon Strachan believes Croatia striker Mario Mandzukic will be as hard to nullify as Lionel Messi.

Last Updated: 07/06/13 at 18:39 Post Comment

Mario Mandzukic: Croatia and Bayern Munich striker praised by Gordon Strachan

Mario Mandzukic: Croatia and Bayern Munich striker praised by Gordon Strachan

Scotland head into Friday's World Cup qualifier in Zagreb knowing they face a side with talent all over the pitch.

But Strachan believes that coping with Mandzukic, who scored for Bayern Munich in the Champions League final, will be as tough as dealing with Barcelona maestro Messi.

He said: "Everybody is aware of Mandzukic unless you come from Planet Zog. You know what he does, how he plays. I know what he does but I can't stop him.

"It's all right knowing what he does. It's like Messi. People know what he does but nobody can stop him.

"We will try our best. The longer we keep the ball, then the less chance there is of the other team doing well.

"Whatever team you're playing for, the longer you keep the ball, the less chance there is of the other team hurting you."

Scotland sit bottom of Group A with their hopes of World Cup qualification over, but Strachan believes they can record a positive result against the Croats.

He said: "To get some sort of points from it and for everybody to get back on the bus and say 'I did as well as I could'.

"That's the coaching staff, the players, everybody.

"We couldn't have used the hours any more so they must feel good about themselves because we've left nothing to chance."

With Darren Fletcher, Kenny Miller, Gary Caldwell and Scott Brown all absent from the squad, James Morrison will wear the captain's armband for the first time at international level.

Strachan said: "He's a good player and I think he sets a standard in training.

"He goes about approaching the game in a professional manner. He's a good professional, he's never had any problems.

"He does the right things, he understands the game, he asks questions. There were one or two candidates and we went for James.

"He never gets too low or too high and that's crucial when you're part of the coaching staff or the captain."

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S

terling needs to be told though that upon entering the Arsenal squad he will re-enact the final scene from Highlander where he will be thrown around a warehouse by cartoon dragons and then be a mere mortal that will only ever spend three to four weeks a season playing football and the rest on the physio's bed. There can be only one.....player available at The Emirates.

rodger's gusset
Arsenal interest in Sterling

T

he game changed in our favour when Carrick came on. We were able to play further up the pitch due to having a player who can give and go with the ball and keep possession. Yet barkley made some runs and Townsend scored a good goal but carrick's inclusion and chiellini's withdrawal made the biggest difference to the flow of the game

ricky villa
Hodgson: Barkley was brilliant

N

o, you've not silenced anyone Andros, i'm afraid. We know you can score a great goal, and it's really handy to have your direct running and willingness to shoot on the bench. But until you can do the other things expected of a winger (beat the man, put a decent cross in, stay wide etc) then you can't expect more than a regular cameo. Wonderful goal though, what a hit! No wonder Buffon wanted the shirt.

badwolf
Townsend: I've silenced critics

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