This team has now surpassed the 1998 team as this team is now guaranteed at least a 2nd place if they do not beat France on Sunday July 15th, 2018. How ironic is it that Croatia faces France in the World Cup final, the same nation that beat Croatia in the World Cup semifinals 20 years ago. These players are already heroes in Croatia; they have shown on the pitch that they never give up and keep fighting till the final whistle is blown, which everyone applauds and praises them for their efforts. But we all know these players will not be satisfied with second place, they want that World Cup trophy to be coming with them on their plane ride back to Croatia. They are thinking just like every Croatian is, beat France on Sunday and bring home the World Cup trophy from Moscow. France will be Croatia’s toughest test yet at this World Cup, no doubt about it. But with the way this team has been playing throughout the World Cup, add in the mental toughness and never quitting attitude to go along with this talented team anything is possible. This World Cup run is not just a win for Croatia, but for all of the countries in the Balkan region. It shows that countries from the Balkans know how to play the beautiful game beautifully and not playing it in an anti-football way. Anti-football is when a team plays the game by trying to just defend most of the game and tries to score off a couple counter attacks and set pieces to win the game. The beautiful game is meant to be played by attacking and trying to score more goals than your opposition and not by who can concede the least amount of goals and who can defend the best. If Croatia were to win on Sunday they would become the 9th nation to win the FIFA World Cup. If Croatian captain Luka Modrić is able to lead Croatia to glory and win the World Cup on Sunday, he will have a convincing case to win the Ballon d’Or (best player of the year award) later this year. An award that has not been won by a player not named Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo since 2007. With the fantastic season he had with Real Madrid, being a crucial part of Real Madrid winning the UEFA Champions League for the third straight time, now include this World Cup run with Croatia and he has a strong case for the award. The chance to create even bigger history is on the line for Croatia on Sunday. Croatia a small country but when it comes to sports the expectations are always high.
Dino Pavleka: @dino_ATL
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