The Croatia centre-back Dejan Lovren said that he deserved to be recognized as ‘one of the World’s best’ after helping Croatia reach their maiden final in the World Cup by beating England 2-1 in their semi-final tie.
The 29-year old defender helped Liverpool to reach the Champions League Final earlier in May which the Reds lost against Real Madrid and has now made his mark in the biggest stage of the World as he is set to play in the final of the World Cup 2018 against France on Sunday.
Lovren told beIN Sport that he doesn’t agree with people who said he had a difficult season as he pointed out his Champions League success with Liverpool and pointed out his contribution to Croatia’s cause after they booked a place in the final of the World Cup for the first time.
“People said I had a difficult season but I don’t agree with that,” Lovren told beIN Sport.
“I showed why I took Liverpool to the final of the Champions League and now with the national team, and now I’m in the World Cup final. I think people should recognise that I’m one of the best defenders in the world.” Lovren added.
Meanwhile, Lovren praised his in-form team mate Luka Modric and backed him to win the Ballon d’Or if Croatia can beat France in the final to be the World Champions.
“Modric is the best middle three player in the world and if we win this World Cup, he deserves the Ballon d’Or,” Lovren said.
Croatia had fallen behind in the game against England, courtesy of a sublime Kieran Trippier freekick in the 5th minute of the game but showed great character and resilience to come back from a 1-0 deficit. A 68th minute equalizer by Ivan Persic kept the Croatian dream alive and a Mario Mandzukic winner late in the extra-time ensured a 2-1 victory over England and booked their place in the final.
“It was quite tough first half, we couldn’t control the ball and they had good chances” Lovren admitted.
“In the second half we were much better, we found space on the side and put in good crosses. Then in extra-time, we showed we still had the energy to play our game.” said Lovren.
Lovren also said that it is Croatia’s chance to retaliate and shrug off the weight that Croatia had been carrying for the past 20 years as the 1998 heroes were defeated 2-1 by France in the semi-final of the tournament.
“This is something we’ll never forget. This is historical for us. People are crying in our country,” he said while reflecting upon their 1998 semi-final loss to France.
“We’ve had this weight on our shoulders for 20 years. Now we’ve got a chance to do something better on Sunday.” Lovren concluded.