Croatia reached the World Cup final for the first time after an extra-time goal from Mario mandzukic gave them a 2-1 win over England in their semi-final on Wednesday. The result saw Croatia reach a first World Cup final, where France await in Sunday’s decider in Moscow.
The biggest winners of the night could well be France, who have had an extra day’s rest for Sunday’s final after edging out Belgium 1-0 on Tuesday.That will not matter too much right now for Croatia, who are the smallest nation to make it to the final since Uruguay back in 1950.
Zlatko Dalic’s said the 2018 final was an opportunity for Croatia to avenge the defeat of 20 years ago. “In 1998, I was in France for the first three games as a supporter. I had to go back [to Hajduk Split] for pre-season for the last games,” he said.
“Maybe this game has a historic significance. The chance to settle a score. Both teams have shown their qualities and are deserved finalists.
“This is football, what we have to do is focus on preparing the best game in the tournament in the final.” Dalic lauded his team’s character after they came from behind for the third consecutive game.
“I insisted that I cannot teach these players football, they play fantastic football already. I am in charge of some other things. This is what they have accepted,” he said.
“I said this tournament would be won by teams with character who execute on the pitch as their coach shows them. We were 1-0 down in three games in a row and we overtook all these. We have done that today in extra time.