Dalic: My team better in all segments against England

Zlatko Dalic, Croatia coach says his side was better in all aspect of the game after beating England to reach their first FIFA World Cup final on Wednesday.

Dalic praised his players strength, stamina and energy levels as they rallied back from a goal down to beat England.

Kieran Trippier opened scoring for the Three Lions of England five minute into the match.

Ivan Perisic drew Croatia and Mario Mandzukic secured a 2-1 extra time win to propel Croatia into their first World Cup final.

“We did not underestimate them. We respected them because we analysed them. We knew what they were doing and where.

“We played a high press on their backline. We closed down (John) Stones and (Jordan) Henderson. We nullified them.

“We let the centre-halves play. (Luka) Modric and (Ivan) Rakitic pressed their backline and we had the ball possession.

“During half-time, I told the players ‘calmly pass the ball, do not lose your heads’. We showed that we were the better team in all segments of the game.

“I think this was our best game. We played today better than against Argentina.

“We were motivated and what I told these players before the game was ‘there’s no pressure, no nerves, don’t lose your head – you’ve reached the semi-final, be proud and enjoy your football’.

“And this is exactly what they did – they enjoyed their football.”

“There is no weakness in a team which is in the final,” Dalic added. “They are a top-drawer team with fantastic players.

“But we are going to discuss France tomorrow. We’re taking it step by step. We’ve entered the final today. We’re going to celebrate, to rest and then we will prepare for France.

“We’re facing another daunting task but it’s going to be a fantastic match. We are ready for it. I am sure everybody will enjoy watching that match. I have huge respect for France.”

Croatia will face France in what will be a rematch of the 1998 Semifinal in Saint-Denis, 20 years and one week later.

By Chinomso Nnorom

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