Croatia coach, Zlatko Dalic has reacted to his team’s 2-1 success against England in the 2018 World Cup semi-finals on Wednesday.
The manager said he was delighted that his team reached the final of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia after losing out in the semi-finals two decades ago during edition of the tournament hosted by France.
Croatia qualified for their first ever final in their fifth appearance at the World Cup finals.
He also spoke ahead of the Sunday’s final clash against France who knocked Croatia out of the 1998 World Cup.
Mario Mandzukic scored the winning goal in the 109th minute of the semi-final, slotting in from Ivan Perisic’s flick-on into the area. Kieran Trippier’s 20-yard free-kick after only five minutes had shot England into an early lead, but Perisic’s 68th-minute equaliser sent the match into extra time.
He told post-match news conference, “In 1998 I was in France for the first three games as a supporter. Everyone in Croatia remembers that game when Thuram scored and we lost 2-1. This has been the topic of discussion for the past 20 years. I remember when we celebrated Suker’s goal but as soon as we sat back down it was
“Both teams have shown their qualities, we do not seek revenge, this football, this is sport, but what we have to do is focus on preparing to play our best game of the tournament in the Final.
“What our players did today, the strength they’ve shown, the stamina, the energy levels. I wanted to substitute but no one wanted to be subbed, everybody kept saying ‘I’m ready, I can run on’.
“Some players played with minor injuries with which they would not have played some other games. Two players played with half a leg, but it didn’t show!
“Nobody wanted to give in when I was preparing the first eleven, nobody wanted to say I was not ready in extra time, no one wanted to be subbed and this shows character and what makes me proud. Nobody gave up.”