FIFA World Cup: Coach Zlatko Dalic salutes Croatia's resilience in England win

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.

Published: 12th July 2018 04:36 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th July 2018 04:36 AM   |  A+A-

Croatia's Luka Modric celebrates with head coach Zlatko Dalic after advancing to the final during the semifinal match between Croatia and England at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, July 11, 2018. | AP

By AFP

MOSCOW: 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."

France await Croatia in Sunday's final, with Didier Deschamps's side the beneficiaries of an extra day's rest and having played the equivalent of one less match.

Croatia were just the second team in World Cup history to be forced into extra time for three successive matches, although Dalic said they will not use that as an excuse.

"We're going to celebrate and rest and then prepare for France. We're preparing for another daunting task but we're ready for it.

"We had three times extra time, but that's up to us. We didn't score earlier, we can ask why didn't we finish the job in 90 minutes. 

"There will be no excuses, we should not take that path. We have to play as if this was the first game of this tournament. We are not going to fish for excuses."

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