Croatia's World Cup coach clings to the rosary as he finds success

14 July, 2018, 04:56 | Author: Ellis Copeland
  • Harry Kane and one of the engraved fivers

Croatia have gone to extra-time in all three of their knockout matches, triumphing on penalties against Denmark and hosts Russian Federation before edging past England 2-1 in the semi-final.

Following a starring role played in Croatia's dramatic late win to crush England's World Cup dreams at the semi-final stage in Russia, Ivan Perisic is now considered a potential doubt to play in Croatia's first ever World Cup final on Sunday.

This year saw England's first semi-final appearance in a senior men's World Cup in 28 years and the class of 2018 now have a chance to eclipse the 1990 group if they can beat Belgium and clinch third place. "They have to use this experience for benefit and I know that what's happened over the last few weeks will make them a stronger team". The players can associate playing with England with enjoyment, fun and not being under siege and feeling everything is against them.

"I must say the support we've had from home and the feeling of support is vast".

Southgate was still a player the last time England reached a semifinal in a major tournament - the 1996 Euro on home soil - and believes the 2018 edition is different than that team. "We're here to improve every time we play", he continued.

"Sometimes I think you have to look at the bigger picture and make decisions that might be criticised", said Southgate at the time.

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Coach Gareth Southgate conceded in the aftermath that the playoff is a match no side wants to play in, but an important milestone remains on the line - one which could truly signal a new era for the Three Lions.

For Belgium, who have a collection of world class players, a win would be the nation's best result at the World Cup.

Here's one reason Catholics in the U.S. might be rooting for the small Central European country: Croatia is a deeply Catholic country, and the coach of its national team, Zlatko Dalic, is a man of honest faith.

"There is a lot of motivation for us and Belgium have already beaten us, so we would like to address that as well". I don't think anyone could have given any more. Football is about winning as a team.

Southgate is well aware of what an opportunity they let slip but is not worrying about whether this summer is as good as it gets. "I wish him all the luck in the world". I hope on Sunday we can celebrate together. "It's the same as if you're at a big club".

Hundreds of millions of people around the world will support us.

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