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Coach Dalic salutes team’s resilience
July 13, 2018
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Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic praised the character of his side after they battled back from a goal down for the third straight game to beat England 2-1 in their World Cup semi-final.

Kieran Trippier put England ahead on five minutes in Moscow, but Ivan Perisic equalised in the second half before Mario Mandzukic scored the decisive goal in extra time.

“We were 1-0 down three games in a row, we’ve shown character and we’ve done that today in extra time,” said Dalic, whose side overcame Denmark and then Russia on penalties to reach the last four.

“We are a nation of people who never give in, who are proud and have character.

“What our players did today, the strength and stamina they’ve shown, the energy level, I wanted to make substitutions but nobody wanted to come off.”

Mental strength: Lovren


Croatia have relied on mental strength to defy limited resources and become the smallest nation in 68 years to reach a World Cup final, said defender Dejan Lovren.

Zlatko Dalic’s men have taken the long road to a meeting with France in Moscow on Sunday after three lots of extra-time and two penalty shootouts in the knockout phase to squeeze past Denmark, Russia and England.

Born to Croatian parents in the Bosnian city of Zenica, Lovren was forced to flee to Germany at just three years old when the Bosnian War broke out in 1992.

His family eventually settled back in Croatia and the Liverpool defender believes a tough upbringing and fierce desire to make the nation of just over four million people proud are key motivating factors.

“I think it is our mentality. We went through again a lot... wars, all these things, and even now the situation is not the best. But it is unbelievable how many talents we have in sports,” Lovren told reporters after Croatia ended England’s World Cup dreams with a 2-1 semi-final win.

“We knew we could write history and we did it. Now there is only one game left to make it forever.”

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