Lovren brands himself 'one of world's best defenders' after semi-final win

Jamie Teather
Evening Standard
Croatia’s Dejan Lovren was criticised before the match but says his performance against England showed he should be respected.

Dejan Lovren: Croatia’s World Cup run proves I’m one of world’s best defenders

Croatia’s Dejan Lovren was criticised before the match but says his performance against England showed he should be respected.

Dejan Lovren labelled himself 'one of the best defenders in the world' after helping Croatia book a place in the World Cup Final on Wednesday.

Lovren, who received criticism for his performances at Liverpool last season, stood firm as goals from Ivan Perisic and Mario Mandzukic dumped England out of the competition.

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The Three Lions came flying out on the blocks at the Luzhniki Stadium, scoring inside five minutes thanks to Kieran Trippier's stunning free-kick. And they could have had more before half-time had Harry Kane or Jesse Lingard made more of presentable chances.

Gareth Southgate's side failed to trouble Croatia thereafter as Lovren booked his place in the World Cup Final weeks after appearing in the Champions League showpiece.

"It's something, for me, special. From my point of view I had people saying I had a difficult season but I don't agree with that", Lovren told beIN Sports.

"I took Liverpool to the final of the Champions League and now with my national team we are in the final.

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"I think people should recognise that I am also one of the best defenders in the world and not just talk nonsense."

Croatia are now into uncharted territory after trumping their previous best run at a World Cup.

They have only made it to the semi-finals once previously, when they were beaten by Sunday's opponents France in 1998.

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