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Croatian players will sacrifice World Cup final places if not fit – Dalic

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Croatia’s coach Zlatko Dalic holds a press conference at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on July 14, 2018 on the eve of the Russia 2018 World Cup final football match between France and Croatia. Alexander NEMENOV / AFP


Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic is prepared to make changes for Sunday’s World Cup final against France if some of his players have not recovered from their exertions in reaching football’s biggest game.

Dalic’s men have been forced to go through three periods of extra-time against Denmark, Russia and England to become the smallest country in 68 years to make the final.

“Tomorrow is the World Cup final. Simply, the players know what that is,” Dalic said on Saturday.

“One thing that brings me happiness is that all my players tell me if they are not 100 percent fit. They will concede and say they are not fit. They know what is at stake, but if they are unable to give their all they will tell us. They have such an attitude.”

Ivan Perisic, who scored and set up Mario Mandzukic’s winner in a 2-1 semi-final win over England, was among five Croatian players to miss training on Friday.

“We have nothing to train. We need relaxation and rest to gain freshness for tomorrow. We have some minor injuries, minor problems, and I hope my players will be ready. If not, I have great players on the bench who will be raring to go.”


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