Saturday, 17 November, 2018

Mental strength carried Croatia to World Cup final, says Lovren

Head to The Roadhouse in Covent Garden Head to The Roadhouse in Covent Garden
Isaac Mcdaniel | 13 July, 2018, 00:46

Croatia's forward Mario Mandzukic celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the Russian Federation 2018 World Cup semi-final match between Croatia and England at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on July 11, 2018.

Croatia took full advantage, by equalising through Ivan Perisic before Mario Mandzukic scored the victor in extra-time.

Samuel Umtiti clinched a 1-0 win over Belgium - and earned the approval of watching French President Emmanuel Macron in the VIP seats at St. Petersburg Stadium - by scoring on a header off a corner kick in the 51st minute on Tuesday.

Martinez switched nine players and Southgate brought in eight, a decision he described as a "no brainer" in the circumstances. He netted the equaliser thanks to a quite brilliant finish and laid on the victor for Mario Mandzukic in extra time. This shows character and is what makes me proud.

"But for these players, many have come of age on an worldwide stage and I couldn't be prouder with what they've done".

"We are only focused on our game and our performance", he said.

France doesn't just have the benefit of an extra day's rest.

"We also invite them to the game to be played around those dates at the Camp Nou", the club said in a tweet.

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Paul Pogba has urged France not to let an opportunity to win the World Cup pass as Les Bleus booked their place in Sunday's showpiece with a 1-0 win over Belgium.

Croatia's coach back in 1998, Miroslav "Ciro" Blazevic, and current coach Zlatko Dalic have a strong relationship that goes back a long way.

Croatia has just over 4 million people, the fourth-smallest of the 32 World Cup teams ahead of Panama, Uruguay and Iceland. Mandzukic rushed to join teammates celebrating at the corner of the pitch. We would be delighted if Modric won the MVP and the Golden Ball for being the best player at the tournament.

"But we have our hearts, our pride and our players and that is what is really important to us".

Very early on, oddsmakers had the French as the favorites in Sunday's World Cup final.

Curiously, an Argentine was also in charge of officiating duties the last time that France made the World Cup final.

"For Croatian football and Croatia as a country, this is history being written".

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