Zlatko Dalic said his Croatia bench were ready to run on the pitch to stop a Spain counter-attack before Tin Jedvaj struck a dramatic late winner in Thursday’s Nations League clash.
Jedvaj's second of the game, in the 93rd minute, secured a 3-2 victory in Zagreb to set up a winner-takes-all clash against England at Wembley on Sunday.
The victor will progress to the Nations League finals while the loser will be relegated from League A, with a draw sending pool leaders Spain through.
And Dalic, who led Croatia to the World Cup final after beating England in the semis, indicated he was prepared to take drastic action in the closing stages while his side poured forward in attack.
"It's an image that has to go into history: we are attacking with all players in the last minute," Dalic said after his side's win.
"It was a strange situation with two unmarked Spaniards in the centre. We were even ready to run out from the bench in order to prevent a possible Spanish counter-attack.
"I called and screamed, but no one wanted to go back. Everyone went in for a shot. It was about the character of the players, their power and strength."
Spain coach Luis Enrique complained the result was unfair, telling reporters: "Under no circumstances did we deserve to lose."
And Ivan Rakitic, who played under Luis Enrique at Barcelona, accepted Croatia rode their luck to snatch a 3-2 win.
"First of all, we have seen a great football match. The people in the stadium and at home have enjoyed a great game," Rakitic, who was replaced with an injury in the second half, said to Teledeporte. "The last goal came with a bit of luck and this victory gives strength to the group.
"When you play in such a group and you see the other groups, you realise that we did not have much luck in the draw, but this is the beautiful thing: now we have to play at Wembley and fight to be first."
Captain Luka Modric denied pre-match that his side were out for revenge after a 6-0 thrashing against Spain in September, but he accepted Croatia wanted to right the wrongs of that loss.
"Of course we were motivated, especially because of the serious defeat in Elche, but the full stadium was our second important motive," Modric said. "Such a great atmosphere raised us, especially at the critical stages of the game, and I believe that such support will now become a tradition.
"Players who came from the bench brought new energy, an extra dimension, and we need it. They showed that they belong in the national team and will surely continue to grow in the coming games. We have to have a good rest, [it will be] a fast match with England, it will be hard again against an excellent rival, but I believe we will gather strength."
|Colombia 1 Qatar 0: Zapata heads in late winner|
|NBA Draft 2019: Five second-round sleepers|
|NBA Draft 2019: Three players who will be selected too early|
|NBA Draft 2019: Six things we learned from Zion Williamson´s interview|
|NBA Draft 2019: What will Warriors do with pick 28?|
|Injured Del Potro withdraws at Queen´s, Lopez into last eight|
|We´ll wait and see - Jorginho agent not ruling out Juventus move|
|Women´s World Cup Review: Argentina and VAR dump Scotland out as England top Group D|
|Lopez strongly denies match-fixing allegations|
|Defending champion Coric comes through Halle thriller|
|Australia v Bangladesh: Carey and co target dangerman Shakib|
|Euro U21s Review: Fornals stunner gets Spain off the mark, Poland shock Italy|
|Argentina make Women´s World Cup history with stunning Scotland comeback|
|Sevastova cruises past Tomljanovic at Mallorca Open|
|Celtic could face Nomme Kalju or Shkendija in Champions League qualifying|
|New Zealand skipper Williamson hails De Grandhomme innings|
|Inter complete Politano deal|
|Coutinho unsure over Barcelona future|
|Luis Enrique grateful for privacy after leaving Spain role|
|Bayern looking forward to signing Sane, claims Lewandowski|
|Every win will be yours – Spain captain Ramos pays tribute to Luis Enrique|
|Masterful Williamson nudges South Africa closer to World Cup exit|
|Unfortunate Del Potro suffers another knee injury|
|F1 Raceweek: Vettel under pressure - French GP in numbers|
|Police arrest man on suspicion of manslaughter over Sala death|
|Baines signs Everton extension|
|AC Milan appoint Giampaolo as head coach|
|Is Mats Hummels still an elite defender?|
|Barcelona to face Napoli in first LaLiga Serie A Cup|
|Pant cleared to join India squad at World Cup after Dhawan blow|
|Ancelotti wants James Rodriguez, confirms Napoli chief De Laurentiis|
|Uruguay v Japan: Laxalt expects tough clash in Porto Alegre|
|Hummels set to join Gotze in returning to Dortmund|
|Who is new Spain coach Robert Moreno?|
|Bamba out with ankle injury after Choudhury challenge|
|Juan Mata agrees two-year extension at Manchester United|
|Assistant coach Terry extends Aston Villa contract|
|Nowell expected to be fit for World Cup following ankle surgery|
|Walker joins Silva, Sterling, Ederson and more in committing to City|
|AFC Champions League Review: Hwang strike gives Ulsan advantage|
|Saracens to face Munster, Racing and Ospreys in tough Champions Cup pool|
|Super League clubs alarmed by England and Great Britain coach Bennett´s NRL claim|
|Mendy opens up on ´incredible´ journey from career-ending operation to Real Madrid|
|Moreno replaces Luis Enrique as Spain coach|
|Walker pens two-year Manchester City extension to 2024|
|Dortmund agree deal for Hummels return|
|Amla reaches ODI landmark at World Cup|
|Neymar Champions League ban appeal rejected|
|India lose batsman Dhawan for rest of World Cup campaign|
|Scholes fined £8,000 by FA over betting breaches|
|Simmons promises answers on Afghan amid apparent row with selector|
|´Out of control´ Lorenzo told to calm down after crash|
|Marquinhos urges ´team-mate and friend´ Neymar to remain at PSG|
|I´m not looking to fill LeBron´s shoes - Williamson wants to ´be the best Zion´|
|Paraguay´s Messi challenge outlined by Berizzo|
|All Blacks ace Ben Smith back and ´100 per cent´ fit|
|Warriors great Vatuvei diagnosed with brain cyst|
|Brazil can cope without Neymar - Tite defends Selecao stars|
|Tigers tie Thompson to new two-year contract|
|Thomas needs ´big training rides´ to make up for crash|
|Maradona had better Argentina team-mates than Messi, says Capello|
|2019 Africa Cup of Nations: Fit and firing Salah carries hopes of hosts Egypt|
|Rumour Has It: Neymar looks for house in Barcelona, PSG want Casemiro in possible Madrid deal|
|Scaloni: Argentina´s Copa America campaign hasn´t started yet|
|Arenado powers Rockies to win over Diamondbacks|
|Tite has no VAR complaints as Brazil booed again|
|Nats ace Scherzer breaks nose in batting practice|
|Stroman doubts long-term future is with Blue Jays|
|United States 4 Guyana 0: Defending champions cruise in Gold Cup opener|
|Platini released after questioning over Qatar World Cup bid|