The likes of Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic and Mario Mandzukic have sealed their place in Croatian folklore regardless of what happens against France on Sunday.
Although they were rated as dark horses for this summer’s World Cup finals in Russia, nobody seriously believed Croatia would go all the way to the final.
But that’s precisely what’s happened following hard-fought wins over Denmark, Russia and England in the knockout stages.
Zlatko Dalić’s men, who also won all three of their group matches, now have an excellent chance of winning the World Cup for the first time ever.
They were the underdogs heading into Wednesday’s semi-final against England and got off to the worst possible start when Kieran Trippier smashed home a free-kick. But goals from Ivan Perisic and Mandzukic sealed Croatia’s most memorable victory to date.
They all felt they’d been underestimated prior to kick-off and, subsequently, victory tasted even sweeter for them.
What Croatian press have said about England
The Guardian have taken a look at the reaction from newspapers over in Croatia - and they, too, also seem to be delighted after knocking England down a peg or two.
A prominent Croatian website called Vecernij gloated with headlines such as “Football’s not coming home”, “The arrogance hit them back” and “The English are sore losers”.
They even published a photo gallery titled “Look how the English cry after losing to Croatia” which featured players and fans looking crestfallen following the defeat.
Meanwhile, national broadcaster HRT’s main presenter Joska Jelicic - supposedly Croatia’s answer to Gary Lineker - said: “They [England] have nothing to cry about – they were knocked out by the future world champions.
“We played a mature game, the English were unbelievably inferior”.
Robert Prosinecki, who helped Croatia reach the 1998 World Cup semi-finals and had a brief spell with Portsmouth, added: “We murdered the English in the second half!”
Underestimating Croatia and not giving them the credit they probably deserved prior to Wednesday’s match really seems to have hit a nerve.
You would think that everyone in Croatia wouldn’t care what some people in England were saying prior to the semi-final after reaching the World Cup final, but that clearly is not the case.
England fans: would you like to see Croatia lose against France on Sunday? Let us know by leaving a comment below.
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