Pride and tears for Croatians after World Cup final loss

Lynette Rowe
July 15, 2018

"Hey French team! Just to make sure - Lilian Thuram is not in your World Cup squad this year, right?" Now, he has four Champions League titles for Madrid and is on the brink of bringing a World Cup home to a country that hasn't fully embraced him.

Modric, meanwhile, has been tipped as a potential Golden Ball victor for the competition, but he is more focused on team success.

The win in Kaliningrad put Croatia in a strong position after Argentina were held to a surprise 1-1 draw by Iceland in their Group D opener. A swastika that appeared on a pitch in Euro 2016 qualifier against Italy led to a fine and forced the team to play two matches behind closed doors.

Following on from his last minute victor against Iceland to seal top spot in Group D and three wins out of three in the group stage for Croatia, Perisic then popped up with a vital equaliser against England to turn the match on its head.

In all three of those matches, Croatia has had to recover from being a goal down.

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Here, Press Association Sport assesses Modric and one of his main rival for the prize before Russian Federation 2018's last game, France teenager Kylian Mbappe, in their clash at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium. The back of the jersey, however, said "I don't remember" where Modric's name should have been, as ESPN reported.

Croatia needed nerves of steal once more to book a first semi-final spot since 1998, as well as boundless energy to counter a Russian Federation side with the support of a nation behind them in Sochi.

The heads of state from both countries are expected to sit with Putin.

A key cog in the well-oiled Atletico Madrid unit, Vrsaljko has become one an experienced part of another solid defensive side for his national team. When Croatian fans say football means the world to them, they are not being imaginative.

Croatia, a country of 4.5 million people which gained independence from the former Yugoslavia only 27 years ago, enters the final after playing three straight extra-time matches, including two nerve-racking penalty shootouts. "What is the most important is never to give up, never to give in to circumstances, to trust yourself".

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