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Dalic: Penalty killed us

 Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic

Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic was pleased with his team’s performance despite their World Cup final defeat to France in Moscow on Sunday, adding that the VAR-awarded penalty was key to the result.

The game was finely poised at 1-1 just before half-time when France were awarded a penalty upon a VAR review after Ivan Perisic handled a corner in the penalty area.

Antoine Griezmann scored from the resulting spot kick to put France ahead and they never looked back from that moment, running out 4-3 winners.

After the game, Dalic pointed to the penalty decision as the key moment.

"I congratulate France on their title," he told reporters. "We played well in the first 20 minutes, we controlled the game. Then there was an own goal from a set play.

"We came back to life, dominated and then the penalty was given.

"We played well but the penalty knocked the wind out of us and after that it was very difficult," Dalic added.

"I just want to say one sentence about that penalty: You don't give a penalty like that in a World Cup final."

Still, the 51-year old said it was perhaps Croatia’s best performance of the tournament.

"I have to congratulate my players - it was maybe the best game we played in these championships.

“We controlled the match but we conceded. Against such a strong side as France you must not make mistakes.

"At 4-1 down, I was not defeated. This is life, we have to accept it as it is. I think overall Croatia played a great tournament and showed its strength.

"I would like to thank all my players for what they've done. I am proud for my players, my team and my country."