Despite having been forced to two penalty shootouts in succession, Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic insists they’ll be ready for their World Cup semifinal against England.
Having qualified for the quarter-finals at Denmark’s expense, Croatia beat Russia 4-3 on penalties after a 2-2 draw. Sime Vrsaljko went off injured in extra time and Mario Mandzukic and Danijel Subasic also looked as if they were in some discomfort.
However, even after being stretched to their limit twice in a row, Dalic is confident that his side have enough in the tank for the challenge of taking on the Three Lions.
“We do not want to stop, we will try to play our best game,” said Dalic, according to the BBC. “We have two matches to play and we are very motivated.
“We’re giving our all. It will be a battle again but I trust us, I have belief in us.”
Dalic only took charge of Croatia in October last year, but he has breathed life into a team which was struggling for form prior to his appointment. When Ivan Rakitic’s penalty sealed Croatia’s spot in the semifinals, the coach broke down into tears.
“I was concentrated throughout the match but after Rakitic’s penalty, it came bursting out of me,” he said.
England qualified for the semis by beating Sweden 2-0 and will face Croatia at the Luzhniki Stadium on 11 July at 18h00 GMT. The winner will face either France or Belgium in the final.