Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic has echoed the claims made by Dejan Lovren and Luka Modric that his side had “extra motivation” to beat England on Wednesday
because of disrespect from the English media.
Speaking after the World Cup semi-final win over England, Lovren said he had been annoyed about questions related to a poor performance he had for Liverpool against Harry Kane’s Tottenham last autumn, while Modric told ITV that “English journalists, pundits from television” had underestimated Croatia.
The Real Madrid star, who was repeatedly and universally praised in the British media in the build-up to the game, said they should “be more humble and respect opponents more”.
Speaking to reporters a day after his side’s historic win, Dalic said: “There is always some extra motivation and we always respect our opponents.
“Maybe the English team should have respected us more, especially when you consider where our players play their football, but this is football and sport.
“Maybe there was an element of extra motivation because of [comments in the English media], but there was also motivation to play in the final and make our fans and the country happy.”
Dalic was asked by international reporters if his side would be tired for Sunday’s final against France after playing extra-time for a third straight match – just as British journalists asked him if they would be tired after two lots of extra-time before the semi-final.
3:37 Here are the celebrations from fans of both teams and the full time scenes from Zagreb.
The 51-year-old gave a similar response, saying any fatigue his players might feel would be cancelled out by the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity they had to win a World Cup, although he did admit that Croatia have taken a “difficult
Croatia will effectively have played a game more than France, who also have an extra day to recover from their semi-final on Tuesday.