Lovren hails Croatia's historic World Cup achievement

Lovren right had a torrid time against Kane at Wembley in October

Lovren right had a torrid time against Kane at Wembley in OctoberMATTHEW IMPEY REX SHUTTERSTOCK

Croatia lost to hosts France in the semi-finals 20 years ago in their first World Cup as an independent nation, going on to beat the Netherlands in the third-place play-off.

Lovren went into the game irritated that the English media had reminded him of his nightmare against Harry Kane when he was humiliatingly substituted after only half an hour in Liverpool's crushing 4-1 defeat to Tottenham at Wembley last season.

Dejan Lovren believes he has shown he is one of the best defenders in world football after reaching both the Champions League and World Cup finals this summer.

"This feels incredible, especially after everything that was said about us before the game". In extra time we showed that we are still able with the fatigue to play our game.

"Why didn't you ask me about when I played well?"

He added: "I have full respect for Kane". Like with my case, I think people should respect me also.

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Croatia's participation in Monday's final will mark a remarkable staging post in the journey of one of its key players Dejan Lovren, who experienced life as a child refugee in the 1990s after fleeing war-torn Bosnia.

"I really don't understand these questions, always looking back to where I made some mistakes", he said. There is too much criticism about me. "But whatever, this is what gets me to work hard and prove everyone wrong".

It is the first time since 1998 that the nation of just over four million people have reached this stage of the competition, after they eliminated Russian Federation in a penalty shoot-out at the weekend. People now will never forget us.

"I don't know what to say".

If Lovren and his team-mates can control Mbappe and manage the alternative threats of Olivier Giroud and Antoine Griezmann on Sunday in Moscow, Croatia will have a genuine chance of pulling off a victory.

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