Zlatko Dalic Croatia

Croatia boss Zlatko Dalic gave his backing to England after their UEFA Nations League defeat on Sunday, saying “it’s coming home very soon”.

England beat Croatia 2-1 at Wembley to secure their place in the semi-finals of the competition and relegate their opponents.

Croatia beat England in the semi-finals of the World Cup last summer and made it clear afterwards that they were irked by talk around England of ‘football coming home’.

However, Dalic has now suggested that Gareth Southgate’s team have the chance to win silverware.

“They have a young and fast team. It’s coming home, very soon,” he said.

“I think England showed already at the World Cup. They, I think, exceeded expectations. They have a really young and very fast team, which is very important in modern football.

“I’d like to congratulate England on a deserved win and for qualifying for the final four of the Nations League.”

Croatia took the lead at Wembley in the second half but could not hold out as England replied through Jesse Lingard and Harry Kane.

Dalic claimed his side, who were without Ivan Rakitic, had paid the price for their exertions in Thursday’s 3-2 win against Spain.

“It was very difficult for us to recover after the match against Spain. We don’t have such a big squad,” he said.

“In the last 15 minutes we lost concentration, which could be down to our condition physically.

“We can only be proud of everything we’ve achieved this year. We are a small country and don’t have a great infrastructure yet we achieved a great result. We are second in the world and our players have to be proud.

“We didn’t play very well in the first half. We were lucky to get into half-time at 0-0. In the second half we played better and had a few chances after scoring but we conceded from two set-pieces. Set-pieces are part of the game so it’s a fair result in the end.”

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