Kovac slams Croatia players for qualification collapse

Niko Kovac Brazil Croatia 2014 World Cup Group A 06122014
The coach says his troops did not show enough spirit and determination during their draw in Azerbaijan and defeat away to Norway

Croatia coach Niko Kovac has accused his players of a lack of heart after seeing their hopes of qualifying for Euro 2016 unravel over the past week.

The Croats have slipped from top spot in Group H to third place after drawing 0-0 in Azerbaijan on Thursday before losing 2-0 away to Norway on Sunday.

Kovac has pinned the blame for Croatia's collapse firmly on his players, claiming that they have not displayed enough commitment to the cause.

"You should ask the players for the reason for these results," he told reporters.

"My staff and I have done our part, but there are 11 players who must do theirs.

"The team must give 100 per cent. Otheriwse, you cannot win, against neither Azerbaijan nor Norway.

"Playing for the national team is not the same as playing for your club.

"Every player must ask themselves if they have played well today or not.

"Norway fully deserved to win. They were exceptional. We were the worst team on the pitch.

"They show more desire and heart to overcome every obstacle."

Italy now top Group H, two points clear of Norway and three ahead of Croatia, who next host Bulgaria before then travelling to Malta in their final fixture.