- Zlatko Dalic reveals how his side overcame England and qualified into the semi-finals
- Luka Modric his teammates were motivated by the disrespect they got from the English press
- Defender Sime Vrsaljko was also critical with the way the English fought back in the game
Croatia have reached the World Cup final for the first time ever following their 2-1 victory over England at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.
Zlatko Dalić’s side went 1-0 down courtesy of a Kieran Tripper excellent free-kick in the fifth minute, but Ivan Perisic's goal changed the complexion of the match.
Croatia broke English hearts when Mario Mandzukic beat Jordan Pickford after capitalising on some sloppy defending.
Asked to explain the reasons behind Croatia’s comeback, Dalić was quoted as saying by Sky Sports: "Because we were the better team in all segments of the game.
"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.”
Captain Luka Modric also accused English journalists and pundits of showing a lack of respect to them and admitted his teammates had used criticism to motivate them to victory.
“People were talking … English journalists, pundits from television,” he told ITV. “They underestimated Croatia tonight and that was a huge mistake. All these words from them we take, we were reading and we were saying: ‘OK, today we will see who will be tired.’ They should be more humble and respect their opponents more.
“We showed again that we were not tired – we dominated the game mentally and physically.
“We should have killed the game even before extra time. This is an amazing achievement for us – it’s a dream come true after such a long time. We are in the final and that is the biggest success in Croatia history. We have to be proud.”
Man of the match, Ivan Perisic, admitted it was a difficult game but praised his team-mates’ perseverance for coming through a successive third knockout game after extra-time.
“We knew what was at stake and how important the semi-final is for a small country like Croatia,” he said. “We started slowly today but we showed our character and again came from a goal behind just like we did in the previous knockout rounds.
“Twenty years ago I was back at home in my hometown and I rooted for Croatia wearing the Croatia jersey. I could only dream of playing for my country and scoring one of the most important goals to reach the final.”
Defender Sime Vrsaljko was also critical of the Three Lions' attempts to find a way back into the game after they went behind for the first time.
“The all-round perception was that this is a new-look England who have changed their ways of punting long balls upfield but when we pressed them it turned out that they haven’t,” he said.