Rakitic: I beat illness to knock England out of the World Cup

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The Barcelona midfielder said that he was feverish before the encounter but willed himself back to fitness, fired by the attitude of their opponents

Ivan Rakitic revealed he was suffering with a fever in the days leading up to Croatia's 2-1 semi-final win over England at the World Cup.

The Barcelona midfielder was key alongside Luka Modric as the first-time finalists came from behind at half-time to win, thanks to an extra-time goal from Mario Mandzukic.

Losing the 30-year-old would have been a big blow for Zlatko Dalic's Croatia, but the former Sevilla and Schalke player said he would have done everything possible to play.

"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."

Rakitic also added that hype surrounding the England team on social media did not go unnoticed by Croatia and helped inspire them to victory.

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"They thought they were already in the final, with all the things uploaded on [social] networks," he said.

"They can keep doing their stuff and we will play on Sunday."

Croatia take on France in Sunday's World Cup final in a rematch of the 1998 semi, in which Les Bleus triumphed 2-1.

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