Who is this handsome bloke? Who is this Croat, who recognized publicly the substantial support he has from the soccer worlds in the Middle East - specifically the UAE and Saudi Arabia? He is the manager of the Croat national team. That being said, he used to play professionally for the Croat national team as a defensive midfielder. This is pre-coach-of-Croat-national-team background on the man you would most probably be paying attention to quite some in the semi-finals later.

Like most high-rank professionals, Zlatko started 'small'

He was managing sub-national and/or coaching Croat football teams after his retirement from professional football as a player.

After ending his playing career in 2000 he became assistant coach at Varteks. From May 2002 to May 2005 Dalić worked as club's sports director, and during the 2003–04 and 2004–05 seasons he simultaneously acted as assistant coach for Miroslav Blažević (a Croat manager, and ex-player like himself). In May 2005 he was appointed manager of Varteks and in his first season at the helm he won third place in the Croatian First League and reached the final of the Croatian Football Cup. In the first leg of the final, which was played in Rijeka, Varteks lost 0–4 to HNK Rijeka. In the second leg in Varaždin, Dalić nearly created a sensation leading the team to a 5–1 win, but they were one goal short from lifting the silverware

Upon the ending of his contract with Varteks, Zlatko became manager of HNK Rijeka, which finished fourth at the end of the 2007–08 season.

In the 2008–09 season Dalić managed Albanian champions Dinamo Tirana, with whom he won the Albanian Supercup. He resigned in February 2009 after losing two derbies in a row versus fellow capital teams Tirana and Partizani.

Now, we explain for those the as-yet unknowing, his Middle Eastern ties

In the 2010–11 season he became coach of Al-Faisaly (Harmah), a new team in the Saudi Professional League. At the end of the 2010–11 season under Dalić the club enjoyed the greatest success in its history, qualifying for the King's Cup in Saudi Professional League. He was named Coach of the Year in the Saudi Professional League for the 2010–11 season by Al Riyadh newspapers. In the selection, he beat other more famous coaches working in Saudi Arabia at the time, such as Gabriel Calderón, Walter Zenga and Eric Gerets.

On 3 May 2012 Dalić signed a contract with Al-Hilal to manage Al-Hilal B. On 30 January Al-Hilal agreed with Dalić to coach the first club following the sacking of Antoine Kombouaré. On 9 February 2013 he made his managerial debut with Al-Hilal against his old club Al-Faisaly in the semi-final of the 2012–13 Saudi Crown Prince Cup. Dalić eventually led Al-Hilal to the cup title - the club's sixth consecutive win - which was also Dalić's second major title in his coaching career. As manager of Al-Hilal, he was ranked 13th best coach in the world, in March 2013 for that month. During the 2013–14 season, he was the main candidate for the position of sports director at Croatian powerhouse HNK Hajduk Split, but turned down the offer from one of the biggest club in Croatian football.

How did he end up back with the Croatians?

On 7 October 2017, following the sacking of Ante Čačić due to a series of poor results, the Croatian Football Federation named Dalić as the head coach of the Croatia national football team.[16] Upon arriving, Dalić announced that he would only remain head coach if Croatia qualifies for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. They did qualify, or else you would not be watching them perform tonight.

#playmore @rovoapp

Rovo is an app that connects you with other sports players nearby. It takes the hassle out of coordinating timings and matching others of the same skill level so you can #playmore!

Get the latest versions of the app here

Rovo - find tennis players nearby on the apple app storeRovo - find tennis players nearby - google play store