Croatia's Mandzukic says team eager to prove themselves

"Until last night, when all the pain was removed and when we finally experienced a revival of 1998", the Sportski Novosti newspaper said after that match.

Croatia's Liverpool center-back Dejan Lovren said he and his teammates needed no extra motivation to perform at their best on Wednesday.

That form for club has been carried on for his country at the World Cup in Russian Federation, where Modric has been one of the players of the tournament and guided his side to a first semi-final since 1998.

For Russia, they will look back with extreme pride on their World Cup performance.

France took full advantage of an Edinson Cavani-less Uruguay, before tournament favourites Brazil were put to the sword by Belgium's incisive counter-attacking in a thrilling game in Kazan.

"I'll obviously speak to the forwards and tell them what I think", Henderson said.

Asked what similarities Modric and the current crop have in common with the side he played in, Suker replied: "Quality".

The coach, however, will have to wait and see if defender Sime Vrsaljko, who played in four of their five games, will be fit for the match after picking up a knee injury. "It is going to be hard and interesting for both teams".

Earlier players partied inside the dressing room in a raucous atmosphere as they toasted reaching the final four of the tournament.

Bilic, who is presently out of work having been sacked by Premier League side West Ham last season, experienced some of the highs and the lows with the Croatian players such as being seconds away from the Euro 2008 semi-finals only for Turkey to level and progress on penalties.

"Croatia is a better team, but it would not be the first time the host, who before the championship was an outsider, go as far as, let's say, South Korea in 2002", says The Washington Post.

Grabar-Kitarović's Facebook page is a mix of photos and videos of her sporting Croatia jerseys, celebrating in the team's locker room at the games in Russian Federation and her performing her duties as the country's president.

"Holding the ball up, tirelessly stretching defenses into submission and making intelligent runs either onto throughballs or to open up space for Croatia's craftsmen are all caveats to Mandzukic's game". "I expected to see him today, but I hope to see him soon.".

'But that success, that bronze medal from 1998 is still the best achievement in sports (for Croatia) because football is the No 1 sport.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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