I was bedridden before England semi-final, reveals Rakitic

Paul Pogba France

Paul Pogba France

Croatia came from behind to win 2-1 in the semi-final clash in Moscow, with Mario Mandzukic claiming the victor in the 109th minute after Ivan Perisic had earlier cancelled out Kieran Trippier´s free-kick opener. "But from the second half onwards we played much better, and we showed our real standard", said Perišić. That led European soccer's governing body to deduct a point from Croatia, ordered to play two additional games without fans and fined €100,000 (then $117,000 U.S.).

Jose Mourinho would certainly be pleased with his contributions and be hoping to see more of the same when he returns to Old Trafford.

England are out of the World Cup after losing 2-1 to Croatia in the semi-finals.

Asked about facing France, Dalic, the former Al Ain manager, said: "There is no weakness in a team that is in the final".

"I was just changing my lens as the players ran towards me", said Cortez to AFP, who was positioned next to the pitchside advertising boards.

Croatia have now played the equivalent of a whole match more than Didier Deschamps' team ahead of Sunday's final in the Russian capital but must gird themselves for one final push for glory.

Writing Croatia's name in the history books: "We'll be in the history books for being, along with Uruguay, the smallest country to play in the final".

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"They have upped their game over the past several games", Ivan Perisic said. Saturday's match is sure to feel like an unnecessary exertion to some, but it offers the chance to secure England's second-best World Cup finish as Sir Bobby Robson's semi-finalists lost their third-place play-off in 1990. Blanc missed the final, when France beat Brazil 3-0 for its only World Cup title.

"We have three days to prepare ourselves".

Not only did it give England the control they needed in the match but it signalled that Harry Maguire had truly arrived at the World Cup.

"He's a very loved person in France, on the pitch he shows he's a big guy, and I want him to score a goal in the final on Sunday".

"It's going to be very hard but I'm sure we'll find all the energy and the motivation we need".

"This is an incredible achievement for us", he said.

'My players are at top clubs and people should remember that'. Winning the match is not an obligation but something we want to do.

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