Croatia's World Cup success divides Balkan neighbours

Stones was the only outfield player to start every game for England

A party atmosphere is building on the streets in Croatia ahead of the World Cup final against France that's being touted as a battle of David versus Goliath. "Get Down on It" by Kool and the Gang was being played over the bus's sound system - was that the choice of Gareth Southgate? - and they were just waiting for one man: Harry Kane.

Modric, like many of Croatia's senior players, survived far tougher times than the tension of the World Cup as children during the Balkans War - and so Modric's childhood was anything but traditional.

"We now have players who I think can stand on their own two feet in the Premier League", said Southgate.

The Croatians needed penalties to beat Denmark in the round of 16 and Russian Federation in the quarter-finals and extra time to edge England in the last four.

"Against Ukraine we got the result, we breezed past Greece in the playoff and a great deal of that is due to our coach".

Both teams will line up in Saint Petersburg with a sense of what might have been as France and Croatia prepare for Sunday's final in Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium, but they will want to leave Russian Federation on a high. In the first game, he talked us up to give us self-belief and told us we were still good players despite this crisis. The 32-year-old played only one match at the tournament and Southgate has made it clear he and his staff are already in the process of identifying his replacement. We have some minor injuries, minor problems, and I hope my players will be ready.

"What we've done over the a year ago is make decisions which have been right for keeping winning in the short term but also for mid- and long-term development".




Our taxi driver tells me, it's that past which has given this team a mental strength which surpasses other world teams and has seen them become the lowest ranked team to ever make a FIFA World Cup final. But we're not a top-four team yet, and we know that.

"We have a such a good relationship that they will concede and say that I am not fit, I'm going to miss the final". If they're not we have great players on the bench who are raring to go.

The situation is particularly hard for those players at the biggest clubs - none of Marcus Rashford, Phil Jones or Jesse Lingard are guaranteed a regular starting spot under Jose Mourinho at Manchester United.

However, Southgate has a contract until 2020, which could be extended until beyond the 2022 World Cup, giving England stability.

"You don't have to be a giant to play football, I'm happy with where I am".

"It's been proper teamwork, I think, that people have felt in previous tournaments has been lacking".

"We're probably a little bit short on big-game experience, a bit short on number of national caps and we're a bit young for what a winning national team looks like", he said.

Related news:

Hot News

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Croatia star Luka Modric wins Golden Ball, France win, video
Jul 16, 2018 - 03:28
FIFA have announce the Player of the Tournament as well as all other awards winners as France lifted the 2018 FIFA World Cup . He needed to collect the Golden Ball following Argentina's loss to Germany, the same fate which bestowed Modric.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Serena an inspiration for new Wimbledon champion Kerber
Jul 16, 2018 - 02:33
In contrast, the German made her second serve speak for itself, winning 57% and 60% of service points in the two sets. Serena Williams of the US reacts during the women's singles final against Germany's Angelique Kerber .

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Tesla hits 200,000 cars, meaning a lower tax credit for EV buyers
Jul 16, 2018 - 02:05
Owners will be able to claim the full $7,500 federal tax credit for vehicles delivered through December 31, 2018. Tesla said they are looking forward to working and building more cars for their Chinese customers.

Twitter suspends two accounts linked to 12 Russians indicted by Mueller
Jul 15, 2018 - 02:30
Stone downplayed the message exchange, calling it benign based on its content, context, and timing. Nunberg added that he thought Stone is "a critical piece for Bob Mueller".

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Hard to see Serena losing to Kerber: Boris Becker
Jul 15, 2018 - 01:45
Kerber, cleverly moving Serena into awkward positions, took full advantage, winning four games in a row to wrap up the set. This year F1 ace Lewis Hamilton , golfer Tiger Woods and Dame Anna Wintour offered their support from behind her team.

Nancy Sinatra Sr., first wife of Frank Sinatra, has died
Jul 15, 2018 - 01:02
When his fame began to grow, the couple moved to Los Angeles where he became known as one of Hollywood's biggest stars. After their 1939 marriage, Frank and Nancy lived in an apartment in Jersey City, N.J., her hometown.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Put The Honey Smacks Down, CDC Warns After Salmonella Outbreak
Jul 14, 2018 - 02:08
Food and Drug Administration said Kellogg's Honey Smacks cereal is still being offered for sale despite being recalled in June. California has six cases listed as of Thursday, according to the disease control and prevention website .

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Rep. Mark Walker: Strzok's Texts to Mistress Were Despicable in Nature
Jul 14, 2018 - 02:05
But the report said it found no evidence of political bias in the FBI's decision to not pursue criminal charges against Clinton. The texts were discovered during the Justice Department inspector general's probe of the Clinton email investigation.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top NBA Reports: Isaiah Thomas headed to the Nuggets
Jul 14, 2018 - 02:04
Malone had been Thomas' coach during the 2013-14 season in Sacramento, two teams removed from the guard's arrival in Boston. After a few days of inaction, the National Basketball Association free agent market is suddenly back in full swing.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Schumer Calls On Trump To Cancel Putin Summit After Russian Indictments
Jul 14, 2018 - 01:51
Asked when exactly the allies would now reach their 2 per cent of GDP target, Trump said it would over the coming years. The calls came after a new indictment in the Russian Federation investigation was announced on Friday.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Central Illinois Delegation Reacts To Kavanaugh Supreme Court Pick
Jul 14, 2018 - 01:29
President Trump repeatedly promised to nominate justices to the bench who are hostile to Roe v. While Supreme Court nominations are the job of the Senate, House members are also weighing in.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Ostapenko blasts past identikit opponent to reach semis
Jul 14, 2018 - 00:43
Cibulkova faces Latvian 12th seed Jelena Ostapenko , a former French Open champion, for a place in the semi-finals. The American had no trouble handing 29-year-old Görges, who was playing in her first Grand Slam semifinal.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Cosnervative rebels target Theresa May’s Brexit plan
Jul 13, 2018 - 02:24
The Sun , Britain's biggest-selling newspaper, which has long argued for Brexit, said May had made "blunder after blunder". The Foreign Secretary quit his role in government hours after Mr Davis stood down as Brexit Secretary.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Tropical Storm Chris forms off the Carolinas, generating unsafe surf
Jul 13, 2018 - 02:23
National Hurricane Center said the remnants of Beryl would move south of the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on Monday. It was located about 208 miles east of Martinique, packing maximum sustained winds of 45mph, the NHC said on Sunday.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top MacBook Pro updated with 8th-gen Intel Core chipsets
Jul 13, 2018 - 01:37
Apple has to prove to professionals and consumers alike that it cares about the Mac and that it's worth paying its premium prices. Kuo also reckons that the MacBook Pro and iMacs will get a bit of a tweak, notably with eighth-gen Intel Coffee Lake processors .