Croatia players critical of English media, perception after victory
Prominent Croatia players came away quite unimpressed with a much-talked about England side after their 2-1 extra time win in the World Cup semi-final.
Full back Sime Vrsaljko was critical of England’s style in the defeat. He said the perception around England was that they’d be a more attacking, free-flowing side than in past years, but he found them wanting in that regard.
Brutally succinct quote from Šime Vrsaljko "The all-round perception was that this is a new-look England who have changed their ways of punting long balls upfield but when we pressed them it turned out that they haven't. "
— Simon Evans (@sgevans) July 11, 2018
The Croats weren’t done there. Midfielder Luka Modric said he felt that the English media had underestimated Croatia, and spent too much time talking about how tired they’d be after playing two consecutive 120-minute matches.
Strong words from Luka Modric post-match:
"English journalists, pundits from television, they underestimated Croatia tonight and that was a huge mistake. All these words from them we take, we were reading and we were saying 'ok, today we will see who will be tired'" pic.twitter.com/Rxyv4WA03c
— ITV Football (@itvfootball) July 11, 2018
England has always had a prominent style of play that often involves long passes instead of intricate attacking play. There were moments of the latter, but particularly in the second half and extra time, they were pretty much exactly as Vrsaljko described, and quite easy to defend against. In fact, it’s one of the reasons England couldn’t hang on to their lead.
In the end, it’s quite clear that the Croatian players felt a bit disrespected by all the talk of England. They certainly sent a message with their play.