France vs Croatia: We stopped Messi, Kane, we will stop Mbappe, Griezmann – Dalic

Croatia coach, Zlatko Dalic has stated that since his team were able to stop Argentina captain, Lionel Messi and England captain, Harry Kane during the group and semi-final clash respectively at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, his players can also stop France forwards, Kyalian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann too when they clash in Sunday’s final.

Croatia now have the chance to take revenge on France after losing 2-1 in Paris when the sides met in the semi-finals back in 1998 – Dalic travelled to that World Cup as a fan. With such a modest population, they are the smallest country to get to a World Cup final since Uruguay back in 1950, and in the modern game it is a staggering achievement.

Croatia coach, Zlatko Dalic has stated that since his team were able to stop Argentina captain, Lionel Messi and England captain, Harry Kane during the group and semi-final clash respectively at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, his players can also stop France forwards, Kyalian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann too when they clash in Sunday’s final.

Dalic’s men head into the World Cup final following a 2-1 victory over England on Wednesday night, while France beat Belgium 1-0 in Tuesday’s semi-final encounter.

“We were the better team in all aspects of the game,” said Dalic. “We played better than we did against Argentina. I told the players before the game there was no pressure – we have reached the final, enjoy your football and this was exactly what we did.”

The 51-year-old gaffer is confident that his players will be able to nullify the threats posed by Mbappe and Griezmann.

Speaking ahead of their final clash, Dalic boasted that his side can beat the Les Blues in the World Cup final, as they did same to Messi and Kane.

“Croatia can still play better,” Dalic told reporters at a pre-match conference ahead of Sunday’s World Cup final clash with France.

“France are a very dangerous team but if we stopped Messi, Eriksen, Kane… we can stop Mbappe and Griezmann too.”

He added, “I felt relieved after Southgate substituted Sterling because he is very hard to stop.”

“And I admired Southgate, he showed he’s a gentleman, a sportsman, he congratulated all of us individually on the pitch.”

“In the morning ahead of the England match, I had Rakitic with a fever of almost 39 (degrees).

“Ante Rebic said he couldn’t play and I told them only those who were 100% fit will play.

“But at our last meeting ahead of the match, they all said they were ready. And during the game, as I wanted to make substitutions, all of the players kept saying, ‘Not me, not me’.”

Luka Modric has been inspirational throughout their run, yet there were numerous outstanding performances for Croatia

France teams have some fantastic players, 10 of which play in what I think is the top league in the world, La Liga.

But there’s no doubt France has more talent. From young star Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann up top to a midfield led by one of the best central defensive midfielders in the world in N’Golo Kante alongside Paul Pogba, the team is superb. But when you add that the French have one of the top goalkeepers in Hugo Lloris and a central defensive pairing in Barcelona star Samuel Umtiti and Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane, you just see a team oozing with talent. Croatia has Dejan Lovren in defense. That’s all you need to know.

Modric and Rakitic are top-tier midfielders and better in attack than France is. While France has the edge defensively in the middle, it doesn’t have an edge in attack. Modric can control a match for 90 minutes with his turns and superior passing, but he’s going to have to be sharp against Kante, who will be out to wreck his world.

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