Sochi, July 8 (IANS) Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic said the FIFA World Cup quarter-final was rather a fight or a battle than a game in which his team edged out hosts Russia on penalties here on Saturday.
“The Russia team fought well. This was not a beautiful game, it was a fight, a battle for the semi-final. We were lucky,” Dalic told the post-match press conference, reports Xinhua news agency.
The duel had ended 1-1 after regular time and 2-2 after extra time before Croatia won the penalty shootout 4-3.
“I was concentrated throughout the match but after Rakitic’s penalty, it came bursting out of me. I felt really relieved,” Dalic said.
“We made ourselves happy but we also made everybody back home in Croatia happy. Those emotions just burst out of me. I don’t cry often but now I have a good cause: Croatia are in the semi-finals. This is a great success and a great result,” he added.
Croatia will take on England in the semi-final in Moscow on July 11. “Of course there is some power left for the English. We do not want to stop, we will try to play our best game. We have two matches to play and we are very motivated. We’re giving our all. It will be a battle again,” he said.
Croatia’s last appearance in the semi-finals was in the 1998 World Cup in France.