World Cup Daily: Resilience, thy name is Croatia
After each matchday of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Sportsnet.ca’s World Cup Daily blog will recap the day’s events, and look ahead to the next day’s slate of games.
Here’s what happened on Wednesday, in case you missed it…
Croatia 2, England 1 in Moscow: Match report || match stats
MAIN TALKING POINT
Resilience, thy name is Croatia
Just seven years after becoming an independent nation, Croatia stunned the field at the 1998 World Cup by reaching the semifinals, thanks to a glorious Golden Generation of players that included Davor Suker, Zvonimir Boban and Robert Prosinecki. Competing in their first World Cup, the Croatians made it all the way to the semifinals, and even took the lead against France in Saint-Denis, only to be undone by a pair of Lilian Thuram goals – the only two goals, it would turn out, that the defender would score in his 142 appearances for Les Bleus.
Twenty years on from that heartbreaking loss, a new Golden Generation of Croatian players – most notably Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic, Ivan Perisic and Mario Mandzukic – have done one better by leading the country to its first ever World Cup final. It’s poetic that the last time a team came from behind to win a World Cup semifinal match was that French side that beat Suker and his Croatian cohorts. It took them two decades, but they redeemed themselves. Mandzukic served as the hero as it was his goal that capped off a magical night for Croatia in Moscow, and extended England’s World Cup drought for at least another four years.
There’s a lot to like about this Croatia side. It’s a skilled team, with Modric and Rakitic ranking amongst the best midfielders in the world. Their patience in possession is something to …read more