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Dejan Lovren: Croatia showed how to stop Lionel Messi

Dejan Lovren says that Croatia’s successful gameplan to isolate Lionel Messi in their 3-0 World Cup group-stage win over Argentina proved that the world’s greatest player was “stoppable” and predicted his nation can go further than the country’s 1998 semi-finalists. The Liverpool defender was at the heart of a fine Croatia performance that limited Messi and controlled the pace of the game, with three second-half goals from Ante Rebic, Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic. Croatia’s second victory means they are through to the next round even before their final game against Iceland on Tuesday. Lovren said: “I believed, from the beginning, that we could do it. When we are really like a defending bloc, together, they didn't have big opportunities to be honest. We had a couple of them, [Mario] Mandzukic and then [Ivan] Perisic, we had a couple of chances and, like I said, when we defend together, like a team, we will always have our chances.” Asked whether he was surprised as how peripheral Messi was, Lovren said: “No, of course we respect Messi, because he's the greatest player in the world, but he's also stoppable. But not against one player. We defended like a team and this is how we did it. Together. You saw it. He didn't have many chances, and it was, I would say, brilliant defending.” No way through for Sergio Aguero Credit: reuters Croatia reached the 1998 semi-final where they lost to eventual winners France, when the nation had a team including the likes of Zvonimir Boban, Davor Suker, Slaven Bilic and Robert Prosinecki off the bench. “I said we can do it, of course better,” Lovren said. “When you look on the team sheet we have better players than 20 years ago. It doesn’t mean anything if we don't perform well. If we are like this, through all the tournament, I believe we can go far.” test - do not delete Of Modric he said the midfielder was “amazing”. “I said to him it reminded me of his goal against Manchester United, for Real Madrid - fantastic. And he was again one of the best players. I will say he has this calmness, so much experience in his career, he knows how to play these big games. It's a joy to play with him.” WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article

Champions League: Manchester United vs. Real Madrid

Las imágenes del encuentro de vuelta entre el Manchester United y el Real Madrid en los octavos de final de la UEFA Champions League.