Ivan Rakitic. Getty Images

Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic says Croatia will have “4.5m players on the pitch” when they face France in Sunday’s World Cup final.

Croatia defeated England 2-1 after extra-time in Wednesday night’s semi-final to book their place in the final at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium.

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Rakitic believes the pride of representing the smallest country to make the World Cup final in 68 years, with a population of just over four million, will motivate Croatia to create footballing history.

“This is a historic game for not just us, for everybody who is a Croat. There are 4.5m players on the pitch.

“We will carry one another, we will have the energy, we know this is the biggest game of our lives.

“We want to leave the pitch with our heads held high. We just need a little bit of luck to get the result,” said Rakitic.