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"We are going to play England in the League of Nations (in October) and we don´t have a proper stadium to play that game. I'll keep mine to myself", he said.

The Balkan nation with a population of around four million people became the smallest country to advance to the World Cup final since 1950, when Uruguay, with a population of around 2.4 million that year, clinched the trophy.

"We had hoped [for this] and we believed in our team, but the feeling when we finally entered the finals can not be compared to anything", said Croatia fan Ivan Kecerin.

"The dressing-room is a really hard place at the moment".

He said: "Well, I think I've said this before, but I was not a renowned fashion icon throughout my playing career, so it's rather unusual to feel that way now".

While going to 30 minutes of extra time in all three of their sudden death matches - not to mention emotional energy-sapping penalty shootouts in two - has proved beyond doubt Croatia's resilience, it has taken its toll.

Tears and cries of joy, hugs and chants, firecrackers and flares - Croatia was on fire late on Wednesday after their victory against England set up their first-ever appearance in a World Cup final.


Croatia are in the last four of the World Cup for the first time since 1998 and Vrsaljko says his team's run can not be compared to the Europa League success he enjoyed with Atletico Madrid last term.

"They just kept coming towards me and they fell on me!"

Despite failing to make the most of arguably their best chance of reaching the final since 1966, British media hailed the team as heroes with Mirror Sport declaring them "National Treasures", while the Daily Mail saluted their efforts.

"During extra time against Russian Federation I felt knee pain".

Despite taking the lead early in the first half on Wednesday, England suffered the familiar story of World Cup heartbreak as Croatia equalised in the second half and then claimed the victor in the second period of extra time. "It would have meant everything to win the game and the World Cup".

"Semi-finals, they've done what they had to do, they took us to the semi-finals".


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