Brazil dancing not disrespectful, says Croatia's Lovren
Brazil players celebrate a goal during the Qatar 2022 World Cup round-of-16 match against South Korea at Stadium 974 in Doha on Monday. Brazil won 4-1. (Photo: AFP)

DOHA, Qatar (AFP) — Croatia defender Dejan Lovren said Brazil players' celebratory dancing after scoring goals is not disrespectful, ahead of their World Cup quarter-final clash on Friday.

However, the veteran centre-back and his side are aiming to prevent the five-time World Cup winners and tournament favourites from having the chance to celebrate.

"Our goal is to try to stop the whole team, of course Brazil has a lot of individual quality, we are ready for that fight," Lovren told a press conference on Wednesday.

"Honestly, everyone can do what they want to celebrate, I have no issues with that.

"I don't see any disrespect. I think Brazilians were born with songs, with dancing, it's part of their culture."

Lovren has played with several Brazilians during his time at Liverpool and at current club Zenit Saint Petersburg, and he says they have exchanged messages.

"I think I have been in contact with all of the Brazilians I have played with, except the guys we're playing in two days, they have wished me good luck," Lovren continued.

The 33-year-old defender agreed that Tite's side are fancied to win the clash at the Education City Stadium.

"They are the favourites, but we have no problem with that," said Lovren.

Lovren has played alongside 20-year-old Josko Gvardiol in Croatia's mean defence, and says the RB Leipzig centre-back is far better than he was at the same age.

The defender looked back to the days when he began with the national team, alongside players including Josip Simunic.

"I learned from everything they did — maybe they were tougher with me than I am with Josko," said Lovren.

"Of course, I try to talk to him as much as possible, give him some constructive feedback. He has great quality, he's way ahead of me at 20 years old, it's no wonder every club in the world is interested in his services."

Croatia midfielder Mateo Kovacic says that the team must play both a physical and technical game against the Selecao.

"We are accustomed to very tough physical games in the Premier League and that's something that we want to show against Brazil," added the Chelsea midfielder.

"We want to show our technical quality too, but we want to show our physical quality in every duel, every possession."

Croatia's defensive midfielder Marcelo Brozovic was not in training on Wednesday, but is expected to face Brazil while Borna Sosa returned after illness.

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