Ivan Rakitic couldn't resist issuing a message to England fans after World Cup exit

Croatia v Denmark: Round of 16 - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

Croatia were always considered dark horses for the World Cup, and they lived up to that tag by reaching the final in Russia.

The Europeans were classy in the group stages as they topped their group, before scraping past Denmark and Russia on their path to the semi-finals.

After going 1-0 down to England in the last four after just five minutes, it seemed their remarkable run would be ended.

But Zlatko Dalić's side fought back through Ivan Perisic, before Mario Mandzukic netted the winner in extra-time.

Croatia will now contest their first ever World Cup final against France on Sunday.

Members of the Croatian team have hit back at England for their perceived arrogance before the game, including Ivan Rakitic.

The Barcelona midfielder was not impressed with England fans' constant uttering of the words 'it's coming home', and he gave them a message after Croatia sealed their progression through to the final.

"They [England] thought they were already in the final, with all the things uploaded on [social] networks," he said, per the Sun.

"They can keep doing their stuff and we will play on Sunday."

Brutal. Why Rakitic and the rest of the Croatian team were so annoyed by England fans' social media activity before the game is anyone's guess.

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But the bottom line is they will now be facing France in the final: not England.

Rakitic also revealed how he battled through illness in order to play in Wednesday night's game.

"Last night I had a fever, almost 39C," he revealed in a post-match interview.

"I was lying in bed finding the strength to play and it was worth it. I would play a final without a leg if necessary."

It clearly means a lot to anyone associated with Croatia, an idea that Dalic reiterated after the game.

"I insisted that I cannot teach these players football, they play fantastic football already. I am in charge of some other things. This is what they have accepted," he said, per Goal.

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"Initially, on their part there was not full trust and confidence but as the tournament progressed they have gained confidence. They are stronger in terms of mentality, strength.

"I said this tournament would be won by teams with character who execute on the pitch as their coach shows them. We were 1-0 down in three games in a row and we overtook all these. We have done that today in extra time.

"On top of all the football qualities, they have shown character. We are a nation of people who are proud, never give in and have character."

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