Croatia's head coach Zlatko Dalic insisted his team deserved a 2-1 win over England in the semi-finals of the FIFA World Cup at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.
The Vatreni made it 1-0 at half-time, but after the break Ivan Perisic equalized and Mario Mandzukic sealed the fate of the Three Lions in extra time.
Dalic said after the game, citing Sky Sports: "We were the better team in all areas of the game." He also explained in detail how the rapprochement of his side had defeated England.
"We did not underestimate them, we respected them because we analyzed them, we knew what they were doing and where," Dalic insisted, declaring, "We put a lot of pressure on her back and closed [John] Stones and [Jordan] Henderson. We saved her. "
Dalic also revealed details of what he said to his players at halftime after battling a strong start in England. "At half-time, I told the players that they would easily fit the ball, not lose their heads," he said.
His players seemed to follow his orders, as Croatia dominated much of the rest of the game.
Dalic was visibly impressed with the performance of his charges, claiming, "I think that was our best game and we played better today than against Argentina." He referred to the 3-0 victory of his team against La Albiceleste in the group stage.
Croatia's victory over England means they will face France in the final. The Vatreni have never defeated the Les Bleus, which they defeated in 1998 in the World Cup semi-final.
As in England, Dalic sounded respectful, but not afraid of the French. "We are facing another difficult task, but it will be a fantastic game," he predicted, adding, "We're ready for it."