Croatia, with a population of just 4.17 million, booked their place in the July 15 final at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium by beating England at the same venue 2-1 after extra time on Wednesday night.
“But equally we want to be a team that are hitting quarter-finals, semi-finals, finals – that is what we have aimed to do in the long term”.
Samuel Umtiti netted the victor and only goal of the match shortly after the restart in the 51st minute, with Pogba and Co. holding out for a famous victory as the nation will now look to win their first World Cup since 1998.
The French midfielder played for the full 90 minutes as Didier Deschamps’ side secured their spot in the World Cup final on Sunday.
“There are two teams and one cup”.
Even so, he said he would try to lift his team.
Mario Mandzukic typified their efforts, running himself into the ground in the lone striker role but taking his chance to score the victor clinically when it presented itself almost 20 minutes into extra time.
“They can criticise me, but they cannot criticise what I do on the pitch”, Pogba said, according to the Daily Star.
“The honest thing is it’s not a game any team wants to play in”, manager Gareth Southgate said. “Going to extra-time might be a problem along with the fact France have had an extra day to recover but there will be no excuses”. “It was a golden opportunity – they didn’t have a hard run”.
Croatia’s Mario Mandzukic helps an AFP photographer Yuri Cortez to his feet after celebrating scoring their second goal.
In London, an initial wave of elation turned to heartbreak as 30,000 beer-soaked fans in Hyde Park watched their team come up short.
Harry Kane and Lingard went close to doubling the lead while Croatia were reduced to some more speculative efforts.
“We have to play as if this were the first game in this tournament”. He can talk to players and give advice because people really listen to him ” said Umtiti.
“We might live in a time where sometimes it’s easier to be negative than positive, or to divide than to unite, but England: let’s keep this unity alive”. The assists were crucial-two deadly set-piece deliveries unlocking tight defences (Uruguay and Belgium)-and the goals were more than handy.
Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper believes England have “moved forward into a brighter age”. In extra time nobody wanted to be subbed. The only other meeting at a tournament was in the group stage of the 2004 European Championship, when a controversial referee’s call went against the Croats. Blanc wasn’t able to play the final match that year after receiving a red card in the semifinal.