Dejan Lovren has called for greater respect for Croatia following their progress to the World Cup final and says parents at home deserve credit for creating a generation of sporting heroes.
Zlatko Dalic's side came from behind to beat England 2-1 after extra time at Luzhniki Stadium on Wednesday, with Ivan Perisic and Mario Mandzukic scoring the goals after Kieran Trippier's opener.
Centre-back Lovren is proud to be part of a Croatia team that has reached a World Cup final for the first time and surpassed the achievement of the fabled 1998 side, who finished third in their first global tournament.
And the Liverpool defender has praised Croatian parents for "making good love" and giving the small country several sports stars.
"After all we went through, we deserve to be here," he said. "After everything that's been said before the game, we showed our character and that we deserve to be in the final. People should respect us.
"It's not only the English press. From the beginning, sometimes it's unfair. Like with my case, I think people should respect me also. Everyone in Croatia and around the world thinks we managed to make history.
"When you look back, we had three times 120 minutes, and fresher legs than England.
"After 20 years, people will remember us, not only the '98 team. This is what I wanted. It's why I'm proud. I deserve this.
"It's unbelievable how many talents we have in sport, basketball, handball, water polo, tennis, for sure. We have good mothers and fathers. They're making good love."
Reaching the final caps a hugely impressive 2018 for Lovren, who came through a difficult run of form for Liverpool to play a key part in reaching the Champions League final in May.
The former Southampton man thinks he has often been criticised unfairly and is proud to "prove everyone wrong".
"I got a question about the 4-1 against Tottenham (in the Premier League)," he said. "I don't understand these questions, why they're always looking back, when I made mistakes. This is too much about me. But whatever, this is what gets me to work hard and prove everyone wrong."
Lovren's part in Croatia's most famous World Cup run comes two years after he found himself frozen out of the national team set-up, following a disagreement with then-coach Ante Cacic.
"I just decided that I didn't deserve to be there," he explained. "My personal things weren't good, so I didn't want to go to the national team and make problems. I preferred to keep on the side. I would say it's my mistake, but I can live with that. I made it right now."