‘I would play a final without a leg if necessary’: Ivan Rakitic reveals he overcame fever to star for Croatia against England in World Cup
- Barcelona star had a temperature of 39 degrees the night before the match
- Ivan Rakitic lasted the entire 120 minutes as Croatia triumphed 2-1
- They will now play their first ever World Cup final against France on Sunday
- Rakitic and Luka Modric criticised England’s approach to the semi-final
Ivan Rakitic revealed he was suffering from a high fever the night before Croatia’s World Cup semi-final victory against England.
The midfielder fought through the illness to play the entire 120 minutes as his side came from behind to beat England 2-1 in extra time.
Mario Mandzukic grabbed the 109th-minute winner, and Barcelona star Rakitic admitted he would have done anything to play in the game.
Barcelona’s Ivan Rakitic overcame a high fever to inspire Croatia to a 2-1 extra time victory
‘Last night I had a fever, almost 39 [degrees],’ he said.
‘I was lying in bed finding the strength to play and it was worth it. I would play a final without a leg if necessary.’
Rakitic, 30, also criticised England’s approach to the game, claiming they thought they’d won it before kicking a ball.
‘They thought they were already in the final, with all the things uploaded on [social] networks,’ he said.
‘They can keep doing their stuff and we will play on Sunday.’
Rakitic celebrates with Domagoj Vida (left) and goalscorer Mario Mandzukic (right) at full time
Modric and Rakitic both criticised England’s approach before the World Cup semi-final
His words were echoed by midfield partner Luka Modric, who felt his side were inspired by being cast as underdogs.
‘English journalists, pundits from television, they underestimated Croatia and that was a huge mistake,’ Real Madrid’s Modric told ITV. ‘They should be more humble and respect more opponents.
‘All these words from them we take, we were reading and we were saying, ‘OK, today we will see who will be tired’.’
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.