Croatia captain Modric says war made people, team resilient

"We want to finish the tournament well", he told reporters.

Six months before that he was no way certain of going to the World Cup with his club career faltering at Arsenal.

We have not yet approved the starting lineup for the match against Belgium.

Roberto Martinez's Belgium, who were beaten 0-1 by France in the last-four stage, topped Group G ahead of England after an Adnan Januzaj goal proved to be decisive. This gives us strength and motivation. Just because this is a huge game we should not change anything.

"But we are also very realistic about the constant improvements we have to make", he added.

The World Cup final is one which doesn't need much hype, as the excitement is ingrained into all of us.

"Without their character, without their fortitude, they wouldn't have reached this final", the coach said through a translator. "This is something all of us have in us, and it will be in us to the very last moment".

Didier Deschamps' team are firm favourites to win Sunday's showpiece in Moscow and become world champions for the second time - 20 years after their first triumph in 1998. "That's maybe more important than the performances in some respects", he said.

In the immediate aftermath of the semi-final Mr Jex said: "England didn't play too badly".

"I don't care. I want the star (on my shirt for World Cup winners)".

"I have this feeling there will be hundreds of millions of people rooting for us on Sunday", he said.

Croatia have gone to extra-time in all three of their knockout matches, triumphing on penalties against Denmark and hosts Russian Federation before edging past England 2-1 in the semi-final.

"Nothing was given to me on a plate, unlike some coaches in Europe, who get big jobs on the back of their names as players", Dalic said".

"They will concede they are not fit". We are really just living the dream now. "They have such an attitude". With a population of 4.2 million people as of 2016, Croatia is the smallest nation to make it to the final since Uruguay in 1950. We had the luck to see him perform in the game against Denmark.

Had we gone in 2-0 up, I don't think there was any chance Croatia would have recovered from that.

In that sense, Dalic explained that "I always carry a rosary with me" and "when I feel that I am going through a hard time I put my hand in my pocket, I cling to it and then everything is easier".

  • Julie Sanders