CROATIA BOSS Zlatko Dalic was full of praise for England after his sides UEFA Nations League defeat, admitting ‘”it’s coming home, very soon”.
Goals from Jesse Lingard and Harry Kane saw the Three Lions bounce back from a goal behind to defeat seal promotion to the Nations League finals.
Croatia beat England in the semi-finals of the World Cup last summer and revealed they took extra pleasure in KO’ing Gareth Southgate’s men after the Baddiel and Skinner tune made a comeback.
But, Dalic has now changed his stance on the Lightning Seeds song, which captain Luka Modric had previously referred to as ‘betraying English arrogance’.
“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.”
England added insult to injury after their stunning turnaround, blaring the Euro ’96 anthem out of the PA system.
Kane was bundled by his elated team-mates after his late winner, eight minutes after Lingard levelled proceedings following Andrej Kramarac’s second-half strike.
Dalic claimed his side, who were without the injured Ivan Rakitic, had paid the price for their efforts 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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Gareth Southgate told England fans that their “special” support is giving players the desire to create history.
The Three Lions boss heaped praise on England supporters after the World Cup showing and progress being made on the field has sparked a new bond between fans and players.
Speaking after England’s 2-1 win, Southgate said: “The biggest thing for me is the connection with the fans.
“I’ve not seen the new Wembley like that, certainly since I’ve been in charge. But the way everything feels around the fans, the support for the team is very special.