‘Our dream is so close now’: Ivan Perisic says Croatia will be ‘extra motivated’ to avenge 1998 loss in World Cup final clash with France
- Croatia meet France in the final of the 2018 World Cup in Moscow on Sunday
- Match comes 20 years after Les Bleus won a semi-final fixture on home soil
- Ivan Perisic insists this is a ‘totally different story’ for first-time finalists Croatia
- However, that loss in Paris can act as additional motivation for Zlatko Dalic’s men
Ivan Perisic admits that a 1998 last-four defeat by France will provide extra motivation for Croatia as the two countries go head-to-head in this year’s World Cup final.
Following respective defeats of England and Belgium, Croatia and France will square off at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium on Sunday – two decades since they met in an entertaining semi-final clash in Paris.
The hosts came from behind to prevail on that occasion, with Lilian Thuram scoring twice after Golden Boot winner Davor Suker had given Miroslav Blazevic’s side an early second-half lead.
Croatia will face France in the World Cup final at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium on Sunday
Ivan Perisic believes his country’s semi-final loss in 1998 can act as additional motivation
France were reduced to 10 men late on after Laurent Blanc was sent for an early bath following an altercation with Slaven Bilic.
And while Perisic insists this is a new chapter for Croatia, the Inter Milan winger – who registered a goal and an assist in the 2-1 extra-time win over England on Wednesday – also thinks that loss will act as an additional incentive as they plot another upset this weekend.
‘France stopped us in the semi-finals in 1998,’ he told Fifa.com. ‘We will have some extra motivation because of that, for sure. But this is a totally different story.
‘They are favourites, but we will do our best to surprise them. We have three days to prepare ourselves.
Croatia took the lead in that match 20 years ago through Davor Suker’s second-half effort
However, Lilian Thuram then scored twice to send France into the final on home soil
CROATIA’S RECORD AGAINST FRANCE
‘We are all happy to be staying in Moscow, that was our goal. Our dream is so close now.’
France went on to defeat Brazil in 1998 to win their maiden World Cup title on home soil, while Croatia – competing at the tournament for the first time as an independent nation – overcame Holland to seal third place.
The European rivals have played each other on four further occasions since then, with France winning friendly matches in both 1999 and 2000.
David Trezeguet netted the equaliser for the defending champions in a 2-2 draw during the group stages of Euro 2004, while the last meeting at the Stade de France in 2011 ended in a goalless draw.
Author: Nancy Parker
Nancy Parker is a five time Emmy Award winning journalist and seven time Emmy nominee who has spent almost twenty five years covering news in South Louisiana. She has anchored every prime time newscast at WVUE FOX8 during her twenty year tenure in New Orleans.