Zlatko Dalic: Croatia ‘stopped Messi’ so can cope with Harry Kane

Rex Christensen
July 11, 2018

Cherchesov said the hosts, who were ranked 70th by Federation Internationale de Football Association before the World Cup, should aim higher. Both squads are deep and are dealing with relatively few injuries, though Belgium will be missing defender Thomas Meunier, who picked up his second yellow card for tripping Neymar in the 2-1 quarterfinal win over Brazil. In 2002, 2006 and 2014 they were eliminated in the group stages, and they failed to qualify for the 2010 tournament.

"The consistent comparisons and messages I receive from friends all came about since Harry Kane's success at Tottenham over the past two years, and especially this World Cup". The big guys were sent home and the working teams stayed. I felt something odd in my knee and after talking with the doctor on the sideline we decided I should come off. "Rakitic I haven't played against but I played against Modric twice this year in the Champions League and everyone knows what he did in the Premier League. We have succeeded I believe, but it is time to take a step forward". "It is going to be hard and interesting for both teams".

"What can I say? But now we are collecting those debts in this World Cup".

As Croatia's winning penalty was scored, there was a stunned silence.

But coach Stanislav Cherchesov - his moustache becoming the unofficial symbol of Russia's Cinderella waltz through the tournament - seemed visibly distraught.

But moments later, there was applause. Fans spilling out of bars chanted "Russia", dancing in the street and singing along as music blared. Majority sang Russian songs in the streets all night, waving Russian flags and sounding the horn.

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Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko, the country's former minister of sport, said Russia showed they can play well against a strong opponent.

"He watched, he was rooting for the team".

"Fiery dream continues! After another thriller Croatia in semi-finals!" said the Sportske Novosti paper's online edition.

"This was a good game, and a lovely one".

Apart from the experience of 103 worldwide appearances, Lloris has a few other things going his way when he's trying to stop them - including the fact he's faced numerous Belgians already while playing for Tottenham in the Premier League. Their ranking of 70 in the world was the lowest among all teams in Russian Federation, even lower than worldwide football minnows Saudi Arabia.

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