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Lovren slams French tactics against 'better' Croatia in World Cup final

By Simon Peach

Dejan Lovren believes France "didn't play football" as they overcame Croatia 4-2 in a controversial World Cup final on Sunday.

Croatia took maximum points in the group stage and surpassed all expectations by digging deep to reach Sunday’s Luzhniki Stadium showpiece.

Zlatko Dalic’s side started superbly and looked the brighter team for large chunks of the match, only for France to ride their luck and eventually emerge victorious.

Liverpool defender Lovren was gutted to have lost the final and criticised the approach taken by Didier Deschamps’ team — just as defeated semi-finalists Belgium did.

“I think we have been better today and overall we have been better,” the Croatia centre-back said. “France didn’t play football. They waited for their chance and they scored.

“They had their one tactic and you have to respect it. They played every game of the tournament like that.”

Lovren’s assessment of the officiating was just as cutting as his comments about France.

The free-kick that brought the opening goal was a contentious award, and it got worse from a Croatian perspective when the video assistant referee intervened and encouraged the on-field official, Nestor Pitana of Argentina, to take another look at a possible handball in the area by Ivan Perisic.

Pitana gave the penalty after minutes of deliberation in front of the monitor to leave Croatia infuriated, with Lovren describing it as a “critical moment”.

“I’m disappointed because we lost the game but played much better football than them,” Lovren said.

“I am proud of what we achieved, second in the world. I’m proud of everyone and for the country. We have regrets now when we look at decisions but it doesn’t make sense anymore.

“It’s hard to describe. Maybe after a couple of months I will have everything straight. It’s hard now as I am some moments sad and some moments happy. Overall I am proud.”

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