“We eliminated the biggest favourites,” manager Zlatko Dalic said after Croatia knocked out pre-tournament favourites Brazil in the quarter-finals. The Blazers have now reached at least the semi-finals on all three occasions they have made it out of the World Cup group stage (1998, 2018 and 2022). Dominik Livakovic was once again the hero in their penalty shoot-out victory. He’s saved four penalties, the joint-most of any goalkeeper in the tournament’s history.
“This is for the Croatian people,” Dalic added. “A great match from the first minute to the last. This is not the end for us, let’s keep going. “This is a victory for all of us, everyone gave their best. Thanks also to those on the bench, who also live for this national team.”
Luka Modric also chimed in with his own glowing assessment of the nation’s progress, likening the make-up of his team-mates to that of Real Madrid. “You could say we have the same DNA as Real Madrid because we always keep going until the end, and never give up,” Modric told El Chiringuito.
As for Argentina, they also progressed via a shoot-out. After racing into a 2-0 lead over the Netherlands, extra-time beckoned following Oranje’s sensational comeback. “Argentina are among the four best in the world because they show that they know how to play every game with the same desire and the same intensity,” skipper Lionel Messi stated. “A lot of joy, a lot of happiness. We didn’t have to go to extra-time or penalties, we had to suffer. But we got through and it’s impressive.”
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