Moscow :Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic told his team they had a chance to “settle a score” against France in the World Cup final.
Goals from Ivan Perisic and Mario Mandzukic helped Croatia to a come-from-behind 2-1 win over England in the semi-finals.
The result saw Croatia reach a first World Cup final, where France await in Sunday’s decider in Moscow.
It was France that ended the nation’s previous run at the showpiece tournament, winning their 1998 semi-final 2-1 before going on to claim the title.
And Dalic said the 2018 final was an opportunity for Croatia to avenge the defeat of 20 years ago.
“In 1998, I was in France for the first three games as a supporter. I had to go back [to Hajduk Split] for pre-season for the last games,” he said.
“Of course, everybody in Croatia remembers [Lilian] Thuram, the 2-1. This has been the discussion for the last 20 years.
“Maybe this game has a historic significance. The chance to settle a score. Both teams have shown their qualities and are deserved finalists.
“This is football, what we have to do is focus on preparing the best game in the tournament in the final.”
Croatia were incredibly pushed to extra time for a third straight game, with Mandzukic scoring a 109th-minute winner.
Dalic lauded his team’s character after they came from behind for the third consecutive game.
“I insisted that I cannot teach these players football, they play fantastic football already. I am in charge of some other things. This is what they have accepted,” he said.
“Initially, on their part there was not full trust and confidence but as the tournament progressed they have gained confidence. They are stronger in terms of mentality, strength.
“I said this tournament would be won by teams with character who execute on the pitch as their coach shows them. We were 1-0 down in three games in a row and we overtook all these. We have done that today in extra time.
“On top of all the football qualities, they have shown character. We are a nation of people who are proud, never give in and have character.”
Pakistan announce 15-man squad for World Cup, no place for Amir
LAHORE, Pakistan: Pakistan on Thursday announced their Squad for the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.
Pakistan Squad ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 include:
- Fakhar Zaman
- Imam Ul Haq
- Abid Ali
- Babar Azam
- Shoaib Malik
- Mohammad Hafeez
- Haris Sohail
- Sarfaraz Ahmed (Captain & Wicket Keeper)
- Shadab Khan
- Imad Wasim
- Hassan Ali
- Faheem Ashraf
- Junaid Khan
- Shaheen Shah Afridi
- Mohammad Hasnain
The Chief Selector Inzamam Ul Haq also announced Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif for the five-match Series against England.
The 10-nation ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 will be held in England from May 30 to July 14.
However prior to that, Pakistan would play one T20 International (T20I) at Cardiff on May 5 and five One Day Internationals (ODIs) against England.
The first match of five-match ODI Series between Pakistan and England will take place at London on May 8, second at Southampton on May 11, third at Bristol on May 14, fourth at Nottingham on May 17, and fifth at Leeds on May 19.
In the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, Pakistan will play their matches as following schedules;
- On May 24 against Afghanistan at Bristol
- On May 26 against Bangladesh at Cardiff
World Cup Matches:
- On May 31 against West Indies at Nottingham
- On June 3 against England at Nottingham
- On June 7 against Sri Lanka at Bristol
- On June 12 against Australia at Taunton
- On June 16 against India at Manchester
- On June 23 against South Africa at London
- On June 26 against New Zealand at Birmingham
- On June 29 against Afghanistan at Leeds
- On July 5 against Bangladesh at London
Finch expects ‘no issues’ with Smith, Warner’s return
London: Australian skipper Aaron Finch has welcomed the return of Steve Smith and David Warner into the national squad, saying that the duo’s comeback would not be of any issues to the team.
Former skipper Smith and vice-captain Warner are all set to make a return to the international arena after being named in the 15-member Australian squad for the 2019 International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup, which is slated to take place in England and Wales from May 30 to July 14.
Smith and Warner are currently playing for Rajasthan and Hyderabad respectively in the Indian Premier League (IPL) after serving their one-year bans for their role in the ball-tampering scandal that took place in South Africa in March 2018.
Reflecting on their return, Finch said that the pair had done everything they were asked for in the last couple of months and, therefore, there would be no problem with Smith and Warner coming into the side.
“As far as I’m concerned, they’ve done everything they’ve been asked in this last 12 months. They were very good around the group and continuing to do everything they can, that’s in the best interests of the side, and that’s a real key,” the ICC quoted Finch as saying.
“Knowing them both personally as well as I do, I don’t think that will be any kind of issue whatsoever. They’re both great guys and I can’t see there being any kinds of issues,” he added.
Echoing similar views, chief selector Trevor Hohns said that the duo’s reintegration into the team would be seamless.
“I’m quite comfortable and quite confident that they know what is expected and they know the environment they are stepping into, which is quite different to when they left,” he said.
Hohns further expressed confidence that Smith and Warner would cope well with the potential backlashing from English crowds.
“Probably going to England there will certainly be a little bit of aggro.I’m sure everyone expects that, particularly the two players themselves. The team will come in for a bit of heckling I would say,” he said.
Australia will kickstart their campaign at the 2019 ICC World Cup against Afghanistan on June 1.
Ajax eliminate Ronaldo’s Juventus with scintillating display
TURIN: Ajax Amsterdam followed up their elimination of Real Madrid by producing a spell-binding display of inventive, passing football to win 2-1 away to Juventusand end the Serie A team`s dreams of winning the Champions League.
Ajax`s 19-year-old captain Matthijs de Ligt headed the winner from the corner in the 67th minute of the quarter-final second leg as the Dutch side came from behind to clinch a 3-2 aggregate win and reach the last four for the first time since 1996/97.
Cristiano Ronaldo, aiming for a fourth successive Champions League title after winning the last three with Real Madrid, put Juventus ahead in the 28th minute with a typically emphatic header, his sixth goal of the competition.
But Donny van de Beek levelled six minutes later before the visitors swept Juventus aside in the second half with wave after wave of attacks as they earned a semi-final against Manchester City or Tottenham Hotspur.
“Can we can go on to win the competition? Well, we are in the semi-finals now. And we have eliminated two of the favourites in the last two rounds. The next games will be very difficult, but so were these ones. So who knows?,” said De Ligt.
Frenkie de Jong added: “We dominated after the break and were well worth our victory. In fact, we probably should have won by more.”
Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana gave his team an early scare when his clearance was charged down by Emre Can but the rebound flew wide.
Ajax settled well after that but, despite not playing well, Juventus went ahead when Ronaldo got away from the defenders to score the 126th Champions League goal of his career.
There was a long delay for the VAR review, the referee eventually going to the pitchside monitor with the ball back on the centre circle ready for the re-start, before the goal was confirmed.
Ajax kept their cool and took six minutes to level, helped by a somewhat lucky break.
Hakim Ziyech`s long-range shot hit a defender and fell perfectly for Van de Beek who, unmarked and onside, slotted the ball calmly past Wojciech Szczesny, and then had to wait for another long VAR check before the goal was confirmed.
Ajax took complete control in the second half and their geometric passing repeatedly opened up the Juventus defence, which sorely missed injured veteran Giorgio Chiellini.
Szczesny made one-handed save from Ziyech after Juventus were opened up again and then turned Van de Beek
s curling shot over for a corner. Juventus were rocking but, ironically, Ajaxs winner came from an old-fashioned header as De Ligt outjumped two defenders to score.
Ajax had chances for further goals and Ronaldo`s frustration boiled over in stoppage time when he was booked for a lunging tackle from behind near the centre circle.