Croatia have relied on mental strength to defy limited resources and become the smallest nation in 68 years to reach a World Cup final, said defender Dejan Lovren.

Zlatko Dalic’s men have taken the long road to a meeting with France in Moscow on Sunday after three lots of extra-time and two penalty shoot-outs in the knock-out phase to squeeze past Denmark, Russia and England.

‘We knew we could write history’

“I think it is our mentality. We went through again a lot… wars, all these things, and even now the situation is not the best. But it is unbelievable how many talents we have in sports,” Lovren told reporters after Croatia ended England’s World Cup dreams with a 2-1 semi-final win.

“We knew we could write history and we did it. Now there is only one game left to make it forever.”

Lovren and his team-mates have already gone further than Croatia ever have before at a World Cup, but can become legends if they gain revenge for France’s semi-final victory in the 1998 World Cup.

Having seen off Argentina, Uruguay and Belgium in 90 minutes and had an extra day’s rest following their semi-final on Tuesday, France will be heavy favourites on Sunday.

However, Croatia have grown used to beating the odds, and will relish the role of underdogs once more.

“France are definitely the favourites, there is no hiding from that, but we like that,” added Lovren. “We like to be the underdogs from day one.

“Without being arrogant. I think if you are in the final, you are the two best teams in the world.”AFP

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