World Cup 2018: Croatia star played the semi-final against England with high fever
What's the story?
Croatia made history by qualifying for their historic first ever World Cup final by defeating England a couple of nights ago. England's Kieran Tripper gave The Three Lions the lead before Ivan Perisic gave Croatia the equaliser.
Subsequently, Mario Mandzukic's 109th-minute winner proved to be the difference on the night, as the Croatians completed a stunning comeback. After the match, Barcelona and Croatia star, Ivan Rakitic, revealed that he had played the semi-final despite suffering from a very high fever the previous night and failing to completely recover in time.
In case you didn't know...
Croatia beat Denmark in the Round of 16 and Russia in the quarter-finals, with both victories coming at the end of penalty shoot-outs. Rakitic has been an instrumental figure in Croatia's run, dominating the midfield alongside his captain, Luka Modric.
The 30-year-old also scored the third goal in Croatia's 3-0 win against Argentina in the group stages. One of the big names in the side, Rakitic's absence would've certainly weakened the side during the semi-final against England.
The heart of the matter
In a stunning post-match revelation, Rakitic announced that he had indeed been very sick the previous night but also insisted that he would've done everything in his power to the play the match, as he eventually did.
"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."
The Croatian also reportedly lambasted the English for taking them for granted with all the social media posts, etc.
"They [England] thought they were already in the final, with all the things uploaded on [social] networks.
"They can keep doing their stuff and we will play on Sunday."
What an important player he is!
Again, Rakitic will be a key piece to the puzzle if Croatia are to stun the French and lift the trophy.