The pair have scored a combined six goals at the World Cup for France. Icon Sport via Getty Images

'If we stopped Messi, Eriksen and Kane, we can stop Mbappe and Griezmann too'

Croatia manager Zlatko Dalic is confident of his side’s chances in this weekend’s World Cup final against France.

CROATIA MANAGER ZLATKO Dalic insists that his side can beat France in the World Cup final, as they have already shackled Lionel Messi and Harry Kane.

Dalic’s side beat England 2-1 after extra time in the semi-final, as they fought back from a goal down to progress to their first World Cup final.

Croatia have enjoyed a sterling run to the showpiece, thrashing Argentina 3-0 in the group stage and also defeating both Denmark and hosts Russia on penalties.

And Dalic is confident that his players will be able to nullify the threats posed by the likes of France duo Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann.

“Croatia can still play better,” he told reporters. “France are a very dangerous team but if we stopped Messi, Eriksen, Kane… we can stop Mbappe and Griezmann too.”

While Dalic is bullish about his side’s chances, he acknowledged that Croatia found it difficult to deal with the threat of England forward Raheem Sterling throughout the semi-final.

Sterling was eventually substituted and replaced by Marcus Rashford by Gareth Southgate, and Dalic has now conceded he was thankful for the switch.

FIFA World Cup 2018 RussiaCroatia v Engeland Dalic alongside Luka Modric following Croatia's semi-final win against England. VI-Images via Getty Images VI-Images via Getty Images

“I felt relief after Southgate substituted Sterling because he is very hard to stop,” he added. “And I admired Southgate, he showed he’s a gentleman, a sportsman, he congratulated all of us individually on the pitch.”

France reached their third World Cup final with a victory over Belgium, setting up the meeting between the two sides in Moscow.

Croatia will be able to call upon the talents of midfielder Ivan Rakitic, who beat a virus to play against England in the last four.

He has claimed he would “play without a leg” in the final , and Dalic has hailed the determination of his players to beat the Three Lions.

“In the morning ahead of the England match I had Rakitic with a fever of almost 39 (degrees).

“Ante Rebic said he couldn’t play and I told them only those who were 100% fit will play.

“But at our last meeting ahead of the match they all said they are ready. And during the game as I wanted to make substitutions, all of the players kept saying ‘Not me, not me’.”

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