Zlatko Dalic: This Croatia squad can go down in history

Zlatko Dalic: This Croatia squad can go down in history

Croatia are looking to reach their first-ever World Cup final by beating England on Wednesday evening.

David Comerford

Croatia manager Zlatko Dalic insists his side's run to the last four of the World Cup is no surprise, but has told his team they can secure a place in the history books by taking the next step.

Vatreni take on England at the Luzhniki Stadium on Wednesday evening in a semifinal which appears to be evenly-matched.

If they win, they will have officially recorded their best-ever World Cup performance, bettering their excellent run to third place back in 1998.

The nation's 'golden generation', as it were, appear to be finally reaching their potential. 

"Croatia has great players at great clubs around Europe", Dalic said. "It is true we have not made good results at major tournaments for decades, but we should not be surprised Croatia are in the last four of the World Cup given the quality of the players, which has been proven.

"The players have shown their qualities when it matters at this World Cup, and maybe will go down in history as a great generation which has gone close to the third-place finish of the 1998 World Cup.

"This is the result of our hard work, and of the quality of players who play at the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Inter Milan. They have just displayed the qualities they have, that is all."

'We stopped Messi, so we can stop Kane and Sterling'

The battle between England's strikeforce, which includes the tournament's top-scorer Harry Kane, and Croatia's impressive centre-backs Dejan Lovren and Domagoj Vida, has been identified as the one which, above all, will determine the result. 

Having successfully resisted Lionel Messi & Co. back in the group stages, Dalic is confident his side have what it takes to snuff off Kane and indeed his pacey partner Raheem Sterling

“He [Kane] is top scorer – he’s not easy to stop,” he said. “But we have top centre-backs. We managed to stop Messi and [Christian] Eriksen [in the last 16] so hopefully, we can stop Kane.”

“I think Raheem Sterling is an important player because he is really fast and his combination with Harry Kane is really dangerous.

“But we believe in our strengths. We don’t fear England.”