XtraTime Web Desk: Ivan Rakitic said he was down with a fever leading into Croatia’s semi-final against England at the World Cup.
The Barcelona midfielder was key alongside playmaker Luka Modric as the first-time finalists came from behind at half-time to win, with goals from Ivan Perisic and Mario Mandzukic who slotted in the winning goal.
The absence of the 30-year-old would have been a big blow for Zlatko Dalic’s Croatia, but the former Sevilla and Schalke player said he would have done everything possible to play.
“Last night I had a fever, almost 39 [degrees],” he said.
“I was lying in bed finding the strength to play and it was worth it. I would play a final without a leg if necessary.”
Rakitic also added that hype surrounding the England team on social media did not go unnoticed by Croatia and helped inspire them to victory.
“They thought they were already in the final, with all the things uploaded on [social] networks,” he said.
“They can keep doing their stuff and we will play on Sunday.”
Croatia becomes the first side in the history of the history of World Cup to win 3 back to back matches after being down by a goal initially.
Croatia take on France in Sunday’s World Cup final in a rematch of the 1998 semi, in which Les Bleus triumphed 2-1.