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France stopped us in 1998, but our dream is so close now —Croatia forward Perisic

France stopped us in 1998, but our dream is so close now —Croatia forward Perisic

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Croatian professional footballer who plays for Internazionale and the Croatia national team, Ivan Perišić, has vowed that the team would not have a repeat of what happened in 1998 when France stopped them in the semi-finals.

Looking forward to the final encounter between the two teams in the World Cup final next Sunday, Perišić said their determination was real.

Consequently, fans and clubs alike have been celebrating the 29-year-old footballer.

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The Croatian Football Federation set the ball rolling when it took to its verified Twitter handle to celebrate the players that made the 2-1 victory over England possible, as the team glides to World Cup final, to play France on Sunday.

The CFF had entitled a tweet about Ivan Perišić: ‘Talk about your dreams coming true!’

Obviously motivated by the outpouring of love, the Croatian forward vows, “Croatia will use their defeat in the 1998 World Cup semi-finals to France as motivation in Sunday’s World Cup final.”

Perišić ‘s equaliser and Mario Mandzukic’s composed finish in the second half of extra time saw Croatia come from behind to beat England 2-1 in Wednesday’s semi-final, though Kieran Trippier’s free-kick had put Gareth Southgate’s side ahead in the fifth minute.

Perišić had a major part to play in the game, having set up the winner after netting midway through the second period. reports that when the final whistle blew, the Croatians ran straight to their fans, jumping into the sea of red and white.

“One of the fans’ heroes was Ivan Perišić, who scored the equalising goal in the second half, and struck the post a few minutes later. Mario Mandzukic scored the winning goal in the 109th minute, to seal the 2-1 victory.

“This is something indescribable,” said Perišić in the aftermath. “It’s a great honour for all the players and the supporters, and I don’t think we’re really aware of the scale of it just yet.

“Little Croatia through to the World Cup Final! No-one believed before the World Cup that we could go this far, but we believed.

“Again there was drama, it couldn’t have been otherwise. Three times now we’ve been a goal down and have come back, and that really says a lot about our team spirit.

“And that is a real feature of this generation of players. We have one more game left, and we have never been more motivated.”

England lost much of their first-half momentum after the break. Croatia began to get on top, and the Three Lions were punished when Perišić ‘s equaliser sent the match into extra time.

“The first half was not good for us. We started a bit too casually, and England deserved to score. But from the second half onwards we played much better, and we showed our real standard,” said Perišić.

Just weeks before the start of the World Cup, Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic identified a major problem with his team, their obsession with France 1998. Now, a new generation, inspired by captain Luka Modric, has created its own history.

“France stopped us in the semi-finals in 1998. We will have some extra motivation because of that, for sure.

“But this is a totally different story. They are favourites, but we will do our best to surprise them.

“We have three days to prepare ourselves. We are all happy to be staying in Moscow; that was our goal. Our dream is so close now,” Perišić declares.


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