‘Emotions driving Croatia on’

Coach Zlatko Dalic says that the thought of four million Croatians celebrating victory over England will drive his team on in their World Cup semi-final.

Croatia face England in Moscow on Wednesday night, with a win set to take them into a World Cup final for the first time in their history.

They are one of the smallest nations at the World Cup in Russia, but impressed with some outstanding performances to beat Nigeria, Argentina and Iceland in the group phase before edging past Denmark and Russia on penalties in the knockout stage.

“We are four million people, four million coaches and four million players,” Dalic said ahead of the match against an England side backed by a nation of roughly 66 million people.

“Everyone has been out on the streets celebrating what we’ve achieved and that is a great source of pride for us.

“Those emotions are what drive us, that is our petrol and how we have come back to a semi-final after 20 years.

“I don’t know what will happen if we win, probably nobody will go to work. We’re not working much now so you can imagine what it will be like if we win.”

Croatia’s previous best showing at a World Cup was in 1998 in France, when they finished third.

That was after they lost 2-1 to France in the semi-finals, the same country they will play in the 2018 final should they defeat England.