World Cup: You just can't write off these Croats

For years, the warning was clear. Never write off the Germans. Now the phrase needs reworking. Never write off the Croats. Behind in all three knockout games, missing their first penalty in the shoot-out against Denmark and their second against Russia, they are the team everyone else just cannot finish off.

The great survivors have a propensity to be the last men standing. Even as they are exhausted, Croatia find something deep within themselves to complement their considerable quality.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 15, 2018, with the headline 'You just can't write off these warriors'. Print Edition | Subscribe