Boost for England as Croatia star is ruled out

Lynette Rowe
July 12, 2018

Croatia captain Luka Modric said his side showed character on Saturday to get through "another drama" after edging to a second straight shootout win to knock out Russian Federation and set up a World Cup semi-final with England.

England was favored to win the game, and much of the reactions centered on them losing.

England have progressed to their first World Cup semi-final in 28 years, but Croatia defender Dejan Lovren - who plays his club football in England - says he is not paying attention to the World Cup fever that has swept the country.

Now he will be part of the Croatia team which will face Les Bleus in a World Cup final.

"We are concentrating on what's going on now".

However, despite Croatia's Manager admitting his side were exhausted after going to penalties two games in a row, Zlatko Dalic said "there will be no excuses".

"Twenty years ago I was back at home in my hometown and I rooted for Croatia wearing the Croatia jersey". Modric has already scored twice for his nation at this World Cup, while he also converted each of his penalties in their two shoot-out successes.

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With such a modest population, they are the smallest country to get to a World Cup final since Uruguay back in 1950, and in the modern game it is a staggering achievement. "It's rare that we go below 250 the week before a show".

Croatia are in the last four of the World Cup for the first time since 1998 and Vrsaljko says his team's run can not be compared to the Europa League success he enjoyed with Atletico Madrid last term. "What the lads played tonight is fantasy, they've made history".

"Sad, but we'll wait for another four years and see if this young [English] team can carry on", he said.

Croatia fans celebrate at the end of the semifinal match between Croatia and England, in Zagreb. It wasn't about having a good tournament, it wasn't about being happy to be in the top four, so it's a really sad dressing room right now because the opportunity of being in the final was the only focus that we had.

"It was a very hard game for us", said man of the match Ivan Perisic, who cancelled out Kieran Trippier's early goal with a fine effort of his own.

Sunday's World Cup final begins at 10 a.m. CT.

The first half of Wednesday's game had Croatia lagging behind 0-1 after a goal from England's Kevin Trippier only five minutes in.

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