A veteran of two previous FIFA Club World Cups, having appeared for Waitakere United in 2007 and 2008, it has been a case of third time lucky for Auckland City striker Daniel Koprivcic, who has finally tasted victory at this year’s edition of the showpiece event.
“Playing in the Club World Cup not just once but three times is an incredible personal achievement. I told the technical staff and my team-mates before the game that this was going to be my lucky year,” Koprivcic told FIFA.com.
“I played for a different team in the last two years and we didn’t win a single game. This year we won our first match (2-0 against UAE representatives Al Ahli), so it was definitely third time lucky and great for me on a personal level.
“As a striker my job is to score goals and it’s important to me,” he continued when quizzed about his failure to find the net in any of his four matches at the competition. “Unfortunately I haven’t had many opportunities and, quite simply, if you don’t get the chances, you can’t score the goals.”
And there would be no better time to break that duck than in the match for fifth place against African champions TP Mazembe. “We must forget our defeat against Atlante in the quarter-final and focus on winning our next game," Koprivcic said.
"I don’t know if we’ll play with the same formation that we’ve used so far, but I want to play and of course it would be fantastic if I could score. I have never played against an African team before so it will be a totally new experience for me.”
For Osijek and New Zealand
As we near the end of a landmark year for New Zealand football, the 28-year-old forward gave his view on what an Auckland win on Wednesday would mean. “New Zealand football has developed very quickly. The U-17 team recently gave a credible performance in Nigeria and the senior side has qualified for South Africa 2010. So, it would be great for New Zealand if we could get fifth place in the Club World Cup.”
Now Kiwi nationality but originally hailing from Croatia, the powerfully-built goal-getter was born in Osijek, the same town as his hero Davor Suker, who won the adidas Golden Shoe at the 1998 FIFA World Cup France™. “When I was young Suker was my favourite player, I was born in the same town as him and lived there for 14 years. It was great to be able to follow his exploits as he was a big-name player and an excellent striker.
“That said, I can’t see myself becoming ‘New Zealand’s Suker’,” he said with a smile as the interview drew to a close. “Football for me has always come second, with work and my studies coming first. Football’s always been purely for enjoyment, and I have enjoyed it immensely so far.”