Croatia became the 13th country in the history of the World Cup to make a final. Croatia is also the second smallest country in history with around 4 million people to make a final after Uruguay in 1930.
Croatia’s dramatic 2-1 extra-time win over England will remain part of Croatian football folklore forever. Here are what some of the key figures had to say, including goalscorers Ivan Perisic and Mario Mandzukic.
“I think that we played phenomenal today, and after we conceded the goal we completely outplayed England even though they were saying that we are tired, that they are better. Three times we have come from behind and that is proof of our character, that we do not give up. We were better. This is unreal. We are so happy and proud. This is one of the biggest successes of Croatian sport. We do not want to stop here. We were humble, step by step, at first we just wanted to pass the group phase. Our statements were humble, but the belief was enormous and that is why we are here now,” captain Modric told HRT after the match.
“The biggest pressure was against Denmark and Russia. We are enjoying our football. We were losing 1-0 but we fought like lions and came back.”
“This is indescribable. It was hard, again we showed character. Three times we returned, and now in the semifinals too. One more game is ahead of us and we will give it our best. In the second half we dominated, we created many chances. The French? We all remember ’98 and how painful that was, but its been 20 years since then. They are favorites but we will give our best,” Perisic said.
“It wasn’t me, it was the boys who did it. The way they played, how they fought, it is truly historical. Thank you to them, to the supporters here in Moscow and in Croatia, Bosnia and Hercegovina and the whole world. We are slowly walking and going, we are just pushing ahead. We are in the historic final, but we do not plan to stop. We are trying to do it in Moscow,” coach Dalic said, before adding.
“Experts who predicted England would win are no experts. Experts would know Croatia is a better team.”