Kovac hails ‘special’ group

Croatia boss Niko Kovac has insisted that his side are in a ‘special’ group for next summer’s World Cup.

The eastern Europeans have been paired with Brazil, Mexico and Cameroon for the tournament, and could play Spain in the round of 16 should they finish in the top two.

“It is very special,” he told reporters. “Brazil in the first game with the whole world watching will be something.

“We will try to make it difficult for them but it won't be easy. Look at 2006, though, when we gave them a very difficult game. Dida made some good saves and Brazil needed a cracking goal from Kaka to win.

“I remember that I only played about half an hour in that game and had to go off with an injury. I hope I’ll be able to have a bit more influence this time.

“It will also be a special occasion for Dudu [Croatia’s naturalised Brazilian forward Eduardo da Silva] because I know Brazil still means an awful lot to him. 

“I think Brazil are the obvious favourites. They are one of the best sides in the world, after all. But second place is wide open. Mexico may have struggled recently but they are always strong at the World Cup.”

Click here to see the full World Cup 2014 group stage and fixtures.

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