Published: Wed, July 11, 2018
Sport | By Cameron Gross

#WorldCup - Croatia vs England preview

#WorldCup - Croatia vs England preview

Croatia lost to hosts France in the semi-finals 20 years ago in what was their first World Cup as an independent nation, going on to beat the Netherlands in the third-place play-off.

Croatia have needed penalty shoot-outs to overcome Denmark and Russian Federation in the knockout stage.

Against a tired Croatian side that has been pushed to penalties in their past two games, England have a clear advantage and will look to Kane to make the most of it.

"I am perfectly ready and fit and I can say the same for my teammates". - Croatia scored two headers in its last match against Russian Federation - only one of its previous 29 World Cup goals was scored via a header.

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"This is what drives us". - Mario Mandzukic assisted Andrej Kramaric's goal against Russian Federation in the quarterfinal - he has been involved in four goals at the World Cup finals for Croatia (3 goals, 1 assist), with only Davor Suker involved in more (6).

Wednesday's game will see Lovren reacquainted with Kane, who has carried his prolific form in the Premier League to Russian Federation and is the leading scorer at the tournament with six goals.

Lovren and Kane are set to meet again in Moscow on Wednesday, less than nine months after the former was substituted in the first half as Liverpool were crushed by Tottenham at Wembley in the Premier League.

Lovren was not impressed when he was reminded of that day by an English reporter. In the other four games, Croatia's only variable to its 4-2-3-1 formation was whether to start captain Luka Modric in a deep midfield role and Andrej Kramaric more advanced, or to move up Modric and start Marcelo Brozovic. Ask Justin Timeberlake, and he'll tell you the same thing. - Harry Kane has scored on six of the seven days of the week for England, with Wednesday the exception. "He has been showing season after season that he is one of the best strikers in the Premier League and he is one of their greatest threats, but he is not alone". I mean, I wanna see it, you wanna see it, we all wanna see it. "We're really proud in the style that we've played, with the intelligence that we've played, and that we've performed under pressure and dealt with hard situations in games where we've had to wait until the last minute to score, we've had to recover from conceding in last minute, we've been through extra time, penalties". "We need all the players but those on the pitch must be fully fit".

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