Croatia set to erase painful past, says former coach Bilic

Marcus Newton
July 11, 2018

England survived a penalty shootout against Colombia in the last 16 whereas Croatia emerged through extra-time and spot-kicks against Denmark before going through the same ordeal again against Russian Federation in Saturday's quarter-final. Fans should expect a fierce midfield contest, and can hopefully look forward to fluid, flowing play.

But Croatia still lacks a major national team title, and this World Cup is seen as the last chance for this golden generation which apart from Modric includes Monaco goalkeeper Danijel Subasic (33), Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic (32) and Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic (30).

Alli produced his best performance of the tournament so far though against Sweden in the quarter-final, scoring England's second goal in the second half to kill off the game and send the Three Lions through to the semis.

"Of course, when the game starts, there is pressure, but we are just enjoying being here in the World Cup semi-finals".

The other semi-final pits England (No. 12) against a beat up team from Croatia (No. 20).

"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". "There were so many big-quality teams and they are home by now".

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They would have had a tough time watching this tournament as previous champions and highly-fancied sides like Brazil, Germany and Spain have all been eliminated.

And nearly as quick as beer went flying in bars across the country, Matt was bombarded with tweets calling on him to fulfil his promise - which, of course, he did.

Paul the psychic octopus famously predicted the outcome of several games at the 2010 World Cup.

"I don't know what will happen if we win, probably nobody will go to work".

Dalic, who enjoyed a solid but unspectacular career as a midfielder in Croatia, was given the national job past year after success as a coach in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Bilic believes a constant theme in Croatian national sides is they up their game against the historically bigger sides, thus their low key performances against Denmark and Russian Federation, beating both on penalties, should be disregarded. "We have a privilege to get to the final", he said, before saying he was "here to write a new page in history".

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