Tuesday, 25 September, 2018

Croatia Sacks Coach Ahead of Semi Final Clash with England

Vrsaljko hoping to be fit for World Cup semi-final Vrsaljko hoping to be fit for World Cup semi-final
Sergio Cook | 13 July, 2018, 07:46

"A couple of weeks ago, I would have taken this result", said one man in a red England shirt who declined to give his name.

Wednesday saw the ninth time a World Cup semifinal needed 30 more minutes to be decided, with 5 of them needing penalties to find a victor. "I'm so proud, a big victory for all of us!" said Fran Kulic, 23, celebrating with friends in downtown Zagreb. I think England have got a really strong team this year, they are all so young and when you're young, you just go for it and don't worry.

They were briefly silenced when Croatia equalised through Ivan Perisic in the middle of the second half.

The Croatia right-back was substituted during extra time against Russian Federation in the quarter-finals, with Zlatko Dalic's side going on to prevail in a penalty shoot-out.

"That enabled Croatia to dominate that midfield area and get their full-backs into play, they were creating 2-v-1s in wide areas". Asked how far he thought the still young England team could progress in the next World Cup, he said: "This far, if not the final".

Despite failing to make the most of arguably their best chance of reaching the final since 1966, British media hailed the team as heroes with Mirror Sport declaring them "National Treasures", while the Daily Mail saluted their efforts.

"They just kept coming towards me and they fell on me!"

Then Mandzukic scored, giving Croatia the lead for the first time in the match, and there was no way back for England.

"I could only dream to play for my country and to score one of the most important goals".

Croatia will be hoping to avoid that fate when they take on France in Moscow on Sunday.

"But equally we want to be a team that's hitting quarter-finals, semi-finals, finals - that was what we've aimed to do in the long term and we've proved that is possible". In the previous four World Cups: Croatia failed to qualify in 2010 and was ousted in the group stage the other three occasions.

Indeed, the former defender is thrilled to witness the country unite behind his side during a tumultuous political period, with Brexit causing uncertainty and division across much of England and Britain.

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