Croatia play France in World Cup final on Sunday
By Matthew Treadwell
Last Updated: 13/07/18 8:42pm
Ivan Rakitic says Croatia will have “4.5m players on the pitch” when they face France in Sunday’s World Cup final.
Croatia defeated England 2-1 after extra-time in Wednesday night’s semi-final to book their place in the final at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium.
Barcelona midfielder Rakitic believes the pride of representing the smallest country to make the World Cup final in 68 years, with a population of just over four million, will motivate Croatia to create footballing history.
“This is a historic game for not just us, for everybody who is a Croat. There are 4.5m players on the pitch,” said Rakitic.
“We will carry one another, we will have the energy, we know this is the biggest game of our lives.
“We want to leave the pitch with our heads held high. We just need a little bit of luck to get the result.”
Despite Croatia having played 120 minutes in their semi-final, a day later than France progressed against Belgium in St Petersburg in more straightforward fashion, Rakitic insisted fatigue will not be an issue in the showpiece final.
“There will be excess power and energy, no worries about that,” Rakitic added.
The 30-year-old will make his 71st appearance of the season against France in Moscow – more than any player at the World Cup – after winning a La Liga and Copa del Rey double with Barcelona.