Medals are Silver, Hearts are Gold: How Media Reacted to Croatia in World Cup Final

Daniela Rogulj

Croatia fell to France 4:2 in the World Cup final on Sunday in Moscow.

July 16, 2018 – We’re feeling the Monday blues today as the 2018 World Cup has come to an end.

Those of us in Croatia, however, have every reason to be proud of their unbelievable team this tournament, who marched to the top with determination, heart, and their incredible ability to come together as one. 

Croatia’s thrilling run did not go unnoticed, and international media was not shy to say that though France won the Cup, Croatia won the hearts of millions around the world.

Here’s a bit of what the media is saying about our boys after the final match. 

The Guardian

“Dalic’s team have thrived in adversity, harnessing a warrior spirit that several of their players have said runs through the country – a product of being forged in war and enduring so many extreme difficulties. National pride has tracked their every move and it has helped them to mine fresh depths of resolve.”

Washington Post

“Dalic applauded the Croatian fans, who wore the team’s wonderful red-and-white checkerboard designs. He bowed to them, then wrapped his right arm around defender Domagoj Vida’s shoulders.

‘On our bus there is a slogan: ‘Small Country With Big Dreams,’ he said. ‘That’s a good message to all. You have to believe it’s possible. Many things have to fall into place. You have to have a dream and ambitions, and then maybe it will come true — in football or life.’”


“Croatia, however, showed unbreakable spirit and even threatened a comeback when Mandzukic took advantage of France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris hesitating over a clearance to pull a goal back.

Croatia return home as beaten World Cup finalists but their approach to this match will have won the hearts of neutrals and earned them a prolonged standing ovation from their fans at the final whistle.

Zlatko Dalic’s side were the better team for the first hour despite trailing, and were pushing France back when they were hit by those two swift hammer blows from Pogba and Mbappe.

Croatia had done it the hard way to reach this final, winning on penalties in the last 16 and quarter-final against Denmark and hosts Russia respectively before requiring extra time to beat England in the semi-final.

Yet they showed no signs of tiredness as they tore into France from the first whistle, and even when the game looked out of reach they never once let their heads drop, threatening an unlikely comeback when Mandzukic cashed in on Lloris’ error.

It was not to be but world-class midfielder Luka Modric has illuminated this World Cup, while the energy, commitment and threat of Perisic stood out here.

Croatia’s footballers and their coach will return home as national heroes – a status they fully deserve after their contribution to this spectacular World Cup and their all-out approach to this final.”

L’Equipe (translated from

“France wrote history in Russia, unlike the other big favorites that fell earlier. The team played great against Croatia, which proved to be a much more aggressive opponent than some might have thought and dominated most of the game. France had expected a very tired Croatia, but that was not the case at all. Deschamps’ side did not touch the ball in the first 15 minutes and Croatia played great. Our national team was in contention, but it could not be developed at all, because the Croatian side, led by Modrić and Rakitić, was completely in charge of the field. France accidentally took over and then luckily came to another goal.

Although they has a hard time with the second goal, the Croats did not give in and in the second half they were very dangerous. We waiting for the final knockout that finally arrived over Pogba and the match was resolved. We will never know why VAR was not used to review the possible offense of Umtiti over Mandžukić for a penalty kick. Probably because the Croatian players did not bother too much, while the French reacted fiercely before Perišić’s penalty.” 

Marca (translated from

“Croatia came where no one expected them. The World Cup ended for the hero with three games that went into extra time and two penalty shootouts. Luka and Rakitić deserve a place in the history of Croatian football.”





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