The day after Croatia midfielder Luka Modric criticised the English media, his coach Zlatko Dalic has doubled down on his claim that it was motivation.
As seen in the video below, Modric was adamant that journalists and pundits in England underestimated Croatia ahead of their semi-final clash at the World Cup, with Dalic’s men prevailing 2-1 after extra-time.
While the mood in England has certainly changed over the course of the tournament in Russia, pundits in particular were undoubtedly plotting their route to the final as early as the last group stage game.
Strong words from Luka Modric post-match:
“English journalists, pundits from television, they underestimated Croatia tonight and that was a huge mistake. All these words from them we take, we were reading and we were saying ‘ok, today we will see who will be tired'” pic.twitter.com/Rxyv4WA03c
— ITV Football (@itvfootball) July 11, 2018
In turn, it appears to have merely fired up Croatia more as Dalic has revealed that Modric’s assessment was accurate for the entire camp as they used the perceived lack of respect to their advantage as motivation to get the win.
“There is always some extra motivation and we always respect our opponents,” Dalic is quoted as saying by Sky Sports. “Maybe the English team should have respected us more, especially when you consider where our players play their football, but this is football and sport.
“Maybe there was an element of extra motivation because of [comments in the English media], but there was also motivation to play in the final and make our fans and the country happy.”
It remains to be seen if Croatia go on to now defeat France in Sunday’s final, but they’ve certainly earned plenty of credit and respect for their run to the finale given they’ve now played three consecutive games which have gone to extra-time and advanced.
As for England, they’ll be pleased with the progress made this summer but time will tell if it’s the beginning of a journey that ultimately leads to success.