There were jubilant scenes in the Croatian camp as the country reached their first-ever World Cup final on Wednesday at the Saint Petersburg Stadium in Moscow. A nation with the mere population of 4,000,000 had made it into the final of the biggest sporting event on earth.Despite all the romanticism around Croatia, they have not exactly punched above their weight. They have world-class players in the squad with Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic, Maro Mandzukic and Dejan Lovren representing some of the biggest clubs in the world.Yet there have never been very high expectations off Croatia, partly because of their poor show over the years and their unimpressive history.This time around things were different, their midfield was touted as one of the best in the tournament and they have proven their credentials.2018 FIFA WORLD CUP: FULL COVERAGEWhen it came to the semi-final against England, many people did not give Croatia a chance. The entire talk of ‘glory days’ around England and the fact that Croatia had gone to penalties for both their Round of 16 and quarter-finals matches did not exactly help.Most pundits believed that fatigue will come into play for Croatia because they had played far more minutes than The Three Lions. However, in the second half of the match on Wednesday, it were Croatia who came out with renewed energy, zeal and tactics and trumped England 2-1.Lost for words.Enjoy the images.#WorldCupFinal#FlamingPride #WorldCup #Vatreni pic.twitter.com/xOflT8OwOMHNS | CFF (@HNS_CFF) July 11, 2018Also read – Croatia lowest ranked team in history to reach World Cup finaladvertisementCroatia’s chief creator Luka Modric did not mince words after their historic victory. Their coach Zlatko Dalic had said a day ago that they were underrated and Modric took a dig that English journalists and pundits made the mistake of underestimating this super motivated side.”English journalists, pundits from television, they underestimated Croatia tonight and that was a huge mistake. All these words from them we take, we were reading and we were saying ‘ok, today we will see who will be tired’,” Modric said after the match.MATCH REPORT | HIGHLIGHTSCroatia showed their mettle, grit and immense mental strength to down England. Their fighting spirit and the sheer quality in their midfield came to absolute limelight.Also read – World Cup 2018: Croatian defender booed during historic triumphCroatia’s first goal was of supremely high quality. While many accuse Ivan Perisic of high boot, his connection with the ball was perfectly time, his boot did not touch the English defender and he found the back of the net. The pass in front of the goal from Sime Vrsaljko was absolute peach and off-the-ball movement from Perisic to get to the ball was gold.Ivan Perisic’s goal vs England. Who’s the Ninja at Inter again? #CROENG pic.twitter.com/3VC15Bwo0XInterYaSkriniar (@InterYaSkriniar) July 11, 2018Also read – Croatia played an ‘extra match’ to reach historic World Cup final: Key statsThe second goal scored by Mandzukic in the 109th minute was also extremely street-smart. Ivan Perisic rose the highest to head the ball brilliantly in front of the goal. Mandzukic awoke to the situation before John Stones, picked the ball and struck it past Jordan Pickford.The moment when you book your country a place in the #WorldCupFinal!A goal that @MarioMandzukic9 and @HNS_CFF will never forget…TV listings https://t.co/xliHcxWvEOHighlights https://t.co/LOdKDX2Cwn pic.twitter.com/giu0LqA3iPFIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) July 11, 2018It was already known that Croatia have a lot of quality but coupled with their steely mental strength, the final against France is likely to be a cracker.
Premier League Arsenal team news: Injuries, suspensions and line-up vs Swansea Chris Wheatley Arsenal correspondent Last updated 1 year ago 19:15 1/30/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Getty Images Premier League Arsenal Swansea City v Arsenal Swansea City Everything you need to know ahead of the Premier League clash at the Liberty Stadium on Tuesday Arsenal go into Tuesday’s match against Swansea surrounded by transfer speculation, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang close to joining from Borussia Dortmund.The Gunners sold Alexis Sanchez to Manchester United in a swap deal which saw Henrikh Mkhitaryan go the other way and the Armenia international is set to make his debut at the Liberty Stadium.Having been knocked out of the FA Cup almost a month ago, a rejuvenated Arsenal have a Carabao Cup final against Manchester City to look forward to, although they’ve won just three of their 12 away games in the league this season. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player Wenger’s side have lost to the likes of Nottingham Forest and Bournemouth in 2018 but will be confident of securing all three points against an improved Swansea side who still sit at the foot of the league table.ARSENAL INJURIES Danny Welbeck is unavailable due to a hip injury but Olivier Giroud returns from a hamstring problem amid reports that he could be on his way to Chelsea.Mkhitaryan, meanwhile, is likely to feature in his first Arsenal game, with Wenger claiming that the 29-year-old’s versatility is one of the Armenian’s key strengths.“I think Mkhitaryan can play in all positions in midfield,” Wenger said on Friday. “In a box-to-box role, certainly not a defensive role or as a holding player, but all the other positions are not out of reach.“Until now he has played in a wide role but he can certainly absorb that role in a kind of winger or playmaker. I don’t rule it out for him to become a box-to-box player.”Spanish midfielder Santi Cazorla remains a long-term absentee with an Achilles injury.ARSENAL SUSPENSIONS Arsenal have no players suspended for this game.ARSENAL POTENTIAL STARTING LINE-UPWenger’s interchanging between three and four defenders is likely to see the in-form Nacho Monreal continue in defence.Jack Wilshere didn’t train with the rest of the first-team squad on Friday but could still be involved, with Aaron Ramsey also available to start in central midfield alongside Granit Xhaka.A front three of Mesut Ozil, Mkhitaryan and Alex Iwobi appears most likely, with Alexandre Lacazette expected to continue in his role upfront.SWANSEA TEAM NEWS Swansea have lost just one of their last seven games with Carlos Carvalhal in charge, winning seven points from his four league games in charge.The Portuguese boss is without midfielder Renato Sanches for the match in Wales due to a hamstring injury but defender Federico Fernandez is available after missing the FA Cup tie with Notts County.Carvalhal’s side have the Premier League’s worst home record this season, with three wins and 11 points from 12 games.Jordan Ayew is the club’s top scorer with seven goals to his name so far this season.BEST OPTA MATCH FACTS Swansea City have lost four of their last five Premier League meetings with Arsenal (W1), including losing each of the last three in a row. Carlos Carvalhal will be the seventh different Swansea manager that Arsene Wenger has faced in the Premier League, in what is the 14th meeting. Indeed, since the start of the 2011-12 season, only against Sunderland (7) has Wenger faced as many different managers against a single opponent. The Gunners have won four of their last five Premier League away games against the Swans, losing the other in November 2014 (1-2). Arsenal have scored in all six of their away Premier League games against Swansea – only at West Brom (12) and Birmingham (7) do they have a better 100% record. Arsenal have only lost one of their last 34 Premier League games against the side starting that day bottom of the table (W27 D6), losing 3-4 at Blackburn in September 2011. The Gunners have won just three of their 12 Premier League away games this season. The last time they’d won as few on the road this far into a season was 2005-06, earning their fourth away win in their 15th game. Danny Welbeck has had a hand in four goals in his last three Premier League starts against Swansea (three goals, one assist). TV COVERAGE & KICK-OFF TIME The match kicks off at 19:45 GMT on Tuesday, with no live television coverage available in the UK. Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.