Danijel Subasic will play through the pain barrier to help Croatia achieve their dream of playing in a World Cup final this weekend.
The goalkeeper struggled with a muscle injury during Croatia’s quarter-final victory over Russia, Subasic needing treatment in extra-time before a heroic performance in the penalty shoot-out.
Subasic was determined not to come off during that clash in Sochi and he will not allow the problem to stop him facing England on Wednesday.
“I started warming up before kick-off and I felt the pain in the muscle,” Subasic told FIFA.com. “My physiotherapist massaged my leg a bit and saw I could play.
“Later, I felt the pain again, but I didn’t want to give up. I knew that the coach needed another substitution. During the break the masseurs did some quick work and, like a Formula One car after a pit stop, I was as good as new.
“It’s been a long season, but you play in a World Cup semi-final once in a lifetime and there’s no point giving up now.”
Subasic knows getting past England will be no easy feat, though, as Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions prepare for their first World Cup semi-final since 1990.
“England have great players – they are a fantastic team,” he added. “They have a lot of youngsters, but they are really good, fast, they play for great clubs. It will be another very tough match for us, a great challenge.
“We don’t really care about who we play or who are the favourites. It’s important that we do our best on the pitch. Just do your best and it ends how it ends.”