Perisic reveals why Croatia will be 'extra motivated' against France

Romelu Lukaku of Belgium

Spirit of warriors: Dalic says his players will not be exhausted for their historic final against France.

"I think people should recognise that I'm one of the best defenders in the world".

Gareth Southgate admits the third-place play-off is not a game that any team wants to play in, leaving the England manager facing a challenge to prepare his players in the wake of their World Cup heartache.

While going to 30 minutes of extra time in all three of their sudden death matches - not to mention emotional energy-sapping penalty shootouts in two - has proved beyond doubt Croatia's resilience, it has taken its toll.

"(France is) very good defensively, and I think they're playing like the best team in the world right now", said Gobert, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year in the National Basketball Association.

"We've come an incredibly long way in a short space of time".

Defender Dejan Lovren dismissed suggestions that the team would be exhausted after extra time and two penalty shootouts in their last two match matches.

Divers embark on mission to rescue final 5 trapped in Thai cave
Twelve young boys and their soccer coach were trapped in a cave in northern Thailand by floodwaters more than two weeks ago. The team was trapped in a cave system after heavy rains forced them deeper into the caves in search of higher ground.

Samuel Umtiti's 51st-minute header in the semifinal sent the French into the final, where they will be seeking their second win since 1998.

Luka Modric has been inspirational throughout their run, yet there were numerous outstanding performances at the Luzhniki Stadium as Croatia recovered from a shaky opening half hour.

"We needed him for this competition and it is on this point that he has really progressed". We have three days to prepare ourselves.

Umtiti's strike proved to be the only goal of the game as France qualified for the World Cup final at the expense of the Belgians.

"Yet I was still taking pictures", Cortez told Actual Futbol. In big games it's small margins.

"For Croatian football and Croatia as a country this is history being written", said the 51-year-old Dalic.

"By the end several players were out on their feet and we were down to 10". And that is a real feature of this generation of players.

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