Croatia’s success story built on family values and a sprinkling of stardust

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Only Messi and Argentina stand in the way of a small country defying the odds to reach a second World Cup final in a row

Zlatko Dalic could luxuriate in sifting through the golden moments in Croatia’s recent past and taking his pick. “I’ve already said the semi-final against England was our greatest match ever, and Brazil comes in second,” he said. “If we manage to win tomorrow, that would make it the greatest, most historic game for Croatia of all time.”

It was no slight on England or any of the other hurdles Dalic, his players and their predecessors have overcome. Beating Argentina and Lionel Messi would bring the warmest of glows and so would a second successive World Cup final, but his assessment was coloured by the development of his own side. This year’s Croatia may not look wildly different from the 2018 vintage in style or approach, but that is laudable in itself: three‑quarters of this squad were not involved in Russia and one of tournament football’s most efficient winning machines has rolled on.

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Written by Nick Ames in Doha
This news first appeared on https://www.theguardian.com/football/2022/dec/12/croatias-success-story-built-on-family-values-and-a-sprinkling-of-stardust under the title “Croatia’s success story built on family values and a sprinkling of stardust”. Bolchha Nepal is not responsible or affiliated towards the opinion expressed in this news article.