Three key battles which could determine the World Cup final

Kieran Trippier

GETTYKieran Trippier put England ahead against Croatia with a sensational free-kick

Kane looks likely to end the tournament as the top scorer thanks to six goals in six games, placing him three in front of his closest remaining challengers for the Golden Boot.

Size has not stopped Modric from covering more distance than any player at the World Cup, registering 63.03 kilometers (39 miles) in six games, according to Federation Internationale de Football Association. Traditions are there to be demolished.

Croatia became independent when Yugoslavia broke up in 1991 and has a population of about 4.3 million, a bit smaller than the population of British Columbia.

The 51-year-old was mentored by Miroslav Blazevic, the architect of the young nation's journey to the 1998 World Cup semi-finals, but made the decision in 2010 that moving to the Gulf was the only way to prove his worth as a coach.

Novak Djokovic is Serbia's best-known sportsman and an idol in his country, but when the 12-time Grand Slam victor voiced support for the Croatia World Cup team, he was condemned by Vladimir Djukanovic, a lawmaker from the ruling Serbian Progressive Party.

Novak Djokovic's controversial decision to back Croatia at the World Cup has earned the Serbian tennis star praise from the finalists' midfielder Ivan Rakitic.

The 32-year-old has been touted as a possible victor of this year's Ballon d'Or, awarded to the world's best player, for his performances at Russian Federation 2018 and for playing a key role in Real Madrid's third straight Champions League title in May. That is going to live with me for ever, there is no doubt about that.

Many of this generation of Croatian players grew up during the war following the break-up of Yugoslavia, however, and that have given them a mental toughness.

France forward Griezmann said winning the trophy was more important than how the team do it.

Trump’s campaign manager Manafort says he’s treated like VIP in jail
Moreover, he wrote, in the Alexandria jail, Manafort "will actually avoid the discomfort of long commutes during trial days". Prosecutors say Manafort's almost unlimited access to his lawyers means he should have no problem preparing for the trial.

"I don't like to go back to these things".

"Fight for your dreams and success".

"They have managed to integrate their individual qualities into the collective" and never give up even when they are exhausted, he told the Jutarnji List newspaper, adding that "this is not a common trait with us".

"Throughout my career and life, I have always taken the harder path", he said.

But as he conducted his pre-match press conference, football was not the only topic after cameras had captured the players throwing a rubber chicken to each other during their warm-up.

Despite all the talent in their ranks, Croatia's place at the World Cup was in jeopardy as late as last October when Zlatko Dalic took over and Modric paid tribute to the impact the coach has had on the team.

"We are very proud of what we have done".

"We couldn't speak more highly of him during the tournament in terms of what he has done but he's not been himself for three games now".

Latest News