(Xinhua) -- Croatia midfielder Ivan
Rakitic has played down concerns about fatigue, saying his team
will be buoyed by overwhelming support from home during Sunday’s
World Cup final against France.
Croatia have played
more minutes than any other side in the tournament, with each of
their three knockout matches - against Denmark, Russia and
England - going to extra time.
MeanwhileFrance have beaten Argentina, Uruguay and Belgium in
Didier Deschamps’ men have also had one more day to recover
from their semifinal for Sunday’s duel.
But Rakitic vowed Croatia would find reserves of energy for
the clash at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium, spurred by the chance to
win football’s most coveted trophy for the first time.
"We will carry one another, we will get the energy, we know
that this is the biggest game of our lives, and we want to leave
the pitch with our heads held high and to be able to say we’ve
done everything," the Barcelona midfielder told a press
"We just need a little bit of luck to get the desired
The 30-year-old said he is back to full health, having
battled a fever the night before his team’s 2-1 victory over
England in extra time on Wednesday.
Rakitic added: "This is a historic game not just for the 13
or 14 players and the squad but also for everybody who is a
"There will be 4.5 million players on the pitch.
"I think that you only need to take a look at the footage
coming from Croatia to see what’s been going on over the past
"It cannot be described with words, that amount of joy,
togetherness, unity, pride, it’s incredible ...
"If there was a stadium big enough for 4.5 million people it
would be full."
France forward Antoine
Griezmann responds to Belgium
goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois: ‘I don’t care how we win’
By Michael Place MOSCOW Russia
(Xinhua) -- France forward Antoine
Griezmann has hit back at Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois
after he accused Les Bleus of winning their World Cup semifinal
by playing "anti-football".
France withstood periods of Belgian dominance in Tuesday’s
match and went ahead via a Samuel Umtiti header in the second
Didier Deschamps’ side then defended resolutely to grind out
a 1-0 victory and book a berth in Sunday’s final against
After the match several Belgium players - including Courtois
and his Chelsea teammate Eden Hazard - criticized France’s
approach to the match.
"It’s just an anti-football team," Courtois said.
"Their striker plays 30 metres from his own goal. France
heads a corner and does nothing more than defend.
"I would have preferred to have lost in the quarter-finals to
Brazil, at least that was a team that wanted to play football."
In a press conference on Friday, Griezmann said:
"Does Thibaut Courtois think that at Chelsea he plays
"I don’t care how we win.
"I want a second star to be on this shirt. That is all."