Exhausted Croatia must draw on reserves for World Cup final against France

FIFA World Cup 2018 semifinal schedule France vs Belgium England vs Croatia

Pic courtesy IANS

Kieran Trippier's early free-kick goal had England dreaming of their first World Cup final since 1966, only for Ivan Perisic to level and Mario Mandzukic to strike in extra-time.

The Manchester United midfielder was part of the France squad that lost 1-0 in extra time to Portugal in the Euro 2016 final, and Pogba hopes they can now go one better on Sunday. In two-way betting on which team wins the title, France is -210 and Croatia is +175. "We'll look at the goals and chances but I don't think we could have given more over these six or seven weeks". "But from the second half onwards we played much better, and we showed our real standard", said Perišić.

The World Cup Final takes place on Sunday. Until then, I would've bet anything on England going to the final, but suddenly Croatia equalised and completely took over.

England and Belgium have both produced last-gasp victories at the World Cup - Belgium beating Japan 3-2, England beating Colombia on penalties - but their two games together lack significance.

After a tense match that headed into extra time with a score of 1-1, Team Croatia emerged victorious with a tie-breaking goal in the second half of overtime, finishing the game at 2-1.

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Asked about facing France, Dalic, the former Al Ain manager, said: "There is no weakness in a team that is in the final. During half-time, I told the players "calmly pass the ball, do not lose your heads".

However, it was England who looked the more exhausted for large swathes of the game from the second-half onwards, as Croatia finally made count their dominance of the ball.

"We are only focused on our game and our performance", he said.

"It's massive that we had a good tournament and restored pride in the nation".

"For us, we are not the favourites". It's on the shirt but I didn't win it. "We don't want it to happen again". Pogba has been criticised in England for failing to dominate big games and was even dropped a number of times last season because his defensive work did not match the standards demanded by Jose Mourinho. We have no doubts, we play together, that's our strength.

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