Croatia boss Zlatko Dalic: 'You don't give a penalty like that in a World Cup final'
Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic made his opinion clear of the video-assisted penalty decision that allowed France to take the lead in Sunday's World Cup final, saying, "You don't give a penalty like that in a World Cup final."
The game was level at 1-1 late in the first half when Antoine Griezmann's corner struck the arm of Ivan Perisic. Though referee Nestor Pitana did not initially give the penalty, the video assistant referee suggested he should review the play. After a brief period, the Argentine awarded the spot kick.
The decision was a turning point. Griezmann scored to put France into a lead they would never relinquish, and Les Bleus went on to win 4-2.
Dalic said he thought such a decision had no place in a game of such magnitude.
"We played well, but the penalty knocked the wind out of us and after that it was very difficult," Dalic said after congratulating France on their victory. "I just want to say one sentence about that penalty: You don't give a penalty like that in a World Cup final."
Dalic stood by his tactics and plans for the game but lamented two French goals that he thought could have been avoided.
"We wanted to win the World Cup so much, but that's football," he said. "The French did not surprise us. We let in two soft goals coupled with an own goal and a penalty.
"What we had in terms of luck in this tournament, we lacked today. When you concede four goals, you cannot expect to win the game."
Croatia captain Luka Modric, who was awarded the Golden Ball as the World Cup's best player, thought his team had the upper hand for significant periods.
"We have no regrets because we were the better team for much of the game. Unfortunately, some clumsy goals swung it their way," Modric said. "They will be celebrating, but we can hold our heads high. When the emotions settle, we will be able to analyse more clearly."
Croatian midfielder Ivan Rakitic agreed, saying: "We were the better team in the first half, we were attacking, but we were unlucky tonight. They scored four goals from their three shots on goal. But I congratulate France; they deserved it."
Full-back Sime Vrsaljko said Croatia had no reason to hang their heads -- and neither should their supporters back home.
"We played our hearts out and have no regrets. I hope our fans felt it too," he said. "I think what we have accomplished will be remembered forever, and we can be proud of ourselves.
"That includes our overall conduct, our performances and our fans who represented the country in the best possible way along with ourselves."