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Croatian paper uses ugly image to question Herdman: 'Do you have the balls?'

Sarah Stier - FIFA / FIFA / Getty

John Herdman might want to avoid holidaying on the Dalmatian Coast anytime soon.

Croatian outlet 24sata depicted Canada's head coach in a rather unflattering manner on Friday following his declaration that his team would "F" Croatia in their group meeting Sunday.

The tabloid newspaper's headline reads: "You have the mouth (tongue), but do you have the balls as well?"

Herdman delivered his controversial rallying cry during an on-pitch huddle after Wednesday's 1-0 loss to Belgium. He was asked about the content of his speech afterward and said, "I told (my players) they belong here, and we're going to go and 'F' Croatia. That's as simple as it gets."

When quizzed further on the speech Thursday, the Englishman brushed off his address as an "impassioned moment" designed to motivate his players after a defeat.

"I mean no disrespect to the Croatian team and Croatian people, but at the end of the day, it's a mindset that Canada is going to have if we're going to have three points against one of the top teams in the world. And it's the mindset we took to Belgium," Herdman explained when asked if he was disrespecting the 2018 World Cup finalist.

"We have to - it's part of 'New Canada.'"

Canada outshot Belgium 21-9 in its opener and is still looking for its first goal and point in the World Cup across its appearances in 1986 and 2022.

The failure to take anything from the Belgium game ups the ante for the weekend's fixture against Croatia. Zlatko Dalic's side started its tournament with a 0-0 draw against Morocco.

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