Zlatko Dalic says Croatia's World Cup progress is no surprise

  • Zlatko Dalic says Croatia's World Cup progress is no surprise

Zlatko Dalic says Croatia's World Cup progress is no surprise

France, world champions in 1998, are slight favourites to go through according to most bookmakers, but Belgium tends to step up their game against these particular European rivals if history is anything to go by.

Dalic stressed that the presence of Croatia in the semifinals is deserved and he placed the current generation of players on a par with the Croatian squad that won the bronze medal at the 1998 World Cup in France. Playing in the easiest group in the World Cup, Uruguay broke them and they were lucky that Salah was injured and was not at his best level. "But we will be, because there's a great spirit in this side". "So we should not be surprised that Croatia are in the semi-finals given the quality of the players. I think Croatia will win, 1-0", said Forbes. "We were unlucky at previous tournaments but now we are collecting those debts this year", said Modric after Saturday's win over Russian Federation in Sochi.

The 51-year-old made it his mission to change that and the results have been spectacular, most notably a 3-0 demolition of Argentina in the group stage, although the side has needed penalties to get past Denmark and hosts Russian Federation in the knockout stages. Since this is his last World Cup, given his age, I'm very glad he's among the last four at the World Cup, but all the other players are putting in that effort.

Players seated on the coach belted out Moja Domovina, a patriotic song that translates to "my homeland" as they drummed their hands on the bus windows.

He has, however, noted the set-piece threat posed by Gareth Southgate's men. "We're enjoying it and we believe", he said.

'We dominated in extra-time and were the better team, we should have finished the job before penalties - but maybe it is written in the stars that we had to go through the extra drama'. "That in future we talk about them", said Blazevic, now 83, and known in Croatia as the "coach of all coaches". The visitors lost 4-1, with Harry Kane scoring twice, but Lovren was substituted after 31 minutes.

"Until five or six years ago I was bit vain, and in a way glad that in 1998 we set the bar so high that it was hard to even contemplate, let alone jump over it". You are just nitpicking a bad performance.

The coach, however, will have to wait and see if defender Sime Vrsaljko, who played in four of their five games, will be fit for the match after picking up a knee injury.

"He is our captain, our leader, we follow him and if the team manages a great result and he gets the Ballon d'Or he will deserve it, and I want it for him".