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Zlatko Dalic admits Croatia are "afraid" after Billy Gilmour coronavirus case

Zlatko Dalic admits Croatia are
© Reuters
Coach Zlatko Dalic admits Croatia are "afraid" of contracting coronavirus following Billy Gilmour's positive test.

Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic admits his team are running scared of Covid – but he expects all of his players to stand and fight Scotland.

Steve Clarke's side have suffered a major blow ahead of Tuesday's crucial Hampden showdown after seeing Billy Gilmour test positive.

It is a nightmare scenario for the Scots ahead of a game in which both teams know their Euro 2020 hopes are on the line.

Having taken just one point each, only a victory will be enough to grant them a shot at reaching the knock-out stages.

But boss Dalic also fears his side could see their tournament hopes damaged beyond repair by the pandemic.

Croatia have taken their coronavirus precautions seriously – even cancelling their camp in St Andrews and instead basing themselves back in their homeland amid fears Scottish Government rules would mean their entire squad would be forced to quarantine if they received even just one positive test result.

Now seeing Gilmour fall victim to coronavirus on the eve of their decisive Group D showdown has heightened those fears again.

But Dalic has faith his players will not let their worries stand in the way of progression.

Speaking at his final press conference after touching down in Scotland, Dalic said: "We have just arrived in Glasgow – but I don't expect anyone to say they don't want to play.

"All of them are afraid but nonetheless, we have to play, concentrate on the game and forget everything else.

"That's how the situation is for this entire Euros.

"All of us have been negative until now, we are taking all the precautions and implement all the measures. But we just have to see what happens.

"Every third day we go through the tests, there is psychological pressure and uncertainty.

"So we are afraid something would happen, they test positive and we all end up isolating and having those serious issues.

"I hope nobody else (in the Scotland squad) is positive, I don't want this to expand. Hopefully it's just a single case.

"I wish Gilmour a good recovery and I wish that nobody else ends up positive with Covid because that would make things difficult.

"We are concerned but we have to do this match, we have to play and try to win the three points."

Dalic will again be without Rangers defender Borna Barisic, despite the Ibrox defender returning to training following a back strain.

And he has backed Clarke's men to cope without Gilmour.

He added: "We always knew the third match would be decisive. This is our last chance and we're going to try to take it and progress.

"We are a very motivated side but we see Scotland as a very tough team. They played well against England.

"Gilmour didn't start in the initial line-up but played the last match.

"Scotland have other players, maybe more experienced players, and one of those will maybe replace him.

"So I don't think it's a great blow to Scotland because they are a good team with great players.

"They have shown they are in good form, they drew with Holland 2-2 and only lost a goal in the last minutes.

"Against England they played well away from home in front of the English fans – so I would say that is a good team.

"Borna has not trained with us for the last five or six days.

"He has trained only twice recently so that hasn't been sufficient for me to be sure he can play an entire match. He will be with us and will be there though."

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Thursday's key events


ROWING
· Comeback queen and super-mum Helen Glover goes for her third Olympic gold alongside Polly Swann in the women's pair final (1.30am)
· There is also a medal on offer for GB pair Emily Craig and Imogen Grant in the lightweight women's double scull final (2.10am)

SWIMMING
· As second-fastest qualifier for the final, Team GB's James Wilby is among the medal contenders in the men's 200m breaststroke (2.44am)
· Alys Thomas takes part in the women's 200m butterfly final, although he faces a difficult task to challenge for the medals (3.28am)
· Caeleb Dressel of the USA has been touted by some as the successor to Michael Phelps, and he has the chance to notch up a fourth Olympic gold in the men's 100m freestyle final (3.37am)

RUGBY SEVENS
· After Team GB's men narrowly missed out on a medal, the women get their campaign underway against the Russian Olympic Committee (3am) and New Zealand (10.30am)

HOCKEY
· It is a Great Britain vs. Netherlands double-header, with the men up first in Pool B (4.15am)
· Most eyes will be on the women's showdown between the two nations, though, as Netherlands - the world's best team - look to gain revenge on GB for defeat in the 2016 Olympic final (11am)

CANOE SLALOM
· Mallory Franklin takes part in the women's canoe semi-final, and will hope to do enough to qualify for the final later in the day (6am-8.45am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· With Simone Biles now out of the women's all-around final, the competition has been blown wide open. Team GB twins Jessica and Jennifer Gadirova are among those taking part (11.50am-2.05pm)

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