as reported by

Croatia boss Zlatko Dalic has insisted that his team deserved to make the final of the 2018 World Cup.

The Blazers fell behind to England in just the fifth minute of their semi-final on Wednesday night, but Ivan Perisic levelled the scores in the 68th minute, before Mario Mandzukic came up with an extra-time winner.

Dalic has insisted that Croatia “were the better team in all segments of the game”, and has paid tribute to his players for coming from behind in the last-four clash to progress to the final.

“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,” Dalic told reporters.

“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.

“During half-time, I told the players ‘calmly pass the ball, do not lose your heads’. We showed that we were the better team in all segments of the game. I think this was our best game. We played today better than against Argentina.

“We were motivated and what I told these players before the game was ‘there’s no pressure, no nerves, don’t lose your head – you’ve reached the semi-final, be proud and enjoy your football’. And this is exactly what they did – they enjoyed their

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