Published: Thu, July 12, 2018
Sports | By Brooke Harris

Mental strength carried Croatia to World Cup final, says Lovren

Mental strength carried Croatia to World Cup final, says Lovren

Dejan Lovren claims he is one of the best defenders in the world after Croatia beat England to reach the World Cup final.

Lovren came in for criticism in the first-half of last season, in particular when he was hooked half-an-hour into a 4-1 defeat by Tottenham at Wembley.

"I showed that I took Liverpool to the Champions League final and now with my national team we are in the final".

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And he is delighted that this current Croatian generation have finally lived up to, and now surpassed, the standards of the 1998 team which reached the semi-finals.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has praised centre-back Dejan Lovren for playing a key role in Croatia's run to the World Cup final.

The Croatia worldwide will be hoping to emerge victorious against France in the final, and the way he helped shut Kane down will give him confidence.

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Lovren, who has featured in all six of Croatia's fixtures at this summer's tournament, added: "This is something we will never forget". People are crying, they are happy in our country. We showed our character, we showed that we deserved to be in the final and people should respect us. We went through again a lot. wars, all these things, and even now the situation is not the best. "After 20 years people will remember us not any more (than just) '98 - and this is what I wanted".

"It was quite tough first half, we couldn't control the ball and they had some chances, but in the second half we did much better". Before this game they said we are exhausted but we showed in extra-time we had fresher legs than them.

And he reserved a special word for team-mate Luka Modric: 'He is, not one of, the best midfield player in the world.

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Those episodes have led to sanctions from soccer's global governing body, but Lovren is hoping the squad's success at this World Cup will mark a turning point for the country.

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