Published: Thu, July 12, 2018
Sport | By Cameron Gross

England's squad all train ahead of World Cup semi-final against Croatia

England's squad all train ahead of World Cup semi-final against Croatia

Both of those runs ended in defeats on penalties, but there is a belief that something could be different this time.

Josip Pivaric of Croatia celebrates his Fifa World Cup semifinal win over England. There will be legitimate questions about how much they have left in the tank.

"They'll be the best team we've played in terms of what they're capable of doing with the ball, and what their individuals are capable of, definitely", Southgate said ahead of the game on Wednesday, as quoted on Sky Sports.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković at the World Cup semifinal match in Moscow on 11 July, 2018.

"I think he is a player who is really appreciated by the team.We are really pleased with his contribution, his work ethic without the ball has been incredible for us".

Southgate has been just the voice of reason England have needed to prevent anyone from getting too carried away.

Stat chat Croatia, with just four million people, will be the smallest country by population to play in a World Cup final since Uruguay in 1950. England on the other hand defeated Colombia on penalties in the last 16, but recorded a convincing 2-0 win over Sweden in the quarter-finals.

"Before the game, the whole talk was about the final, the final", began Keane, directing his comments at Wright.

The England regular spoke highly of fellow midfielders Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic along with Liverpool team-mate Dejan Lovren.

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The march was re-scheduled to avoid clashing with the England v Sweden match. "We just have to go again". So to be here now, leading this team out, I'm so proud.

Real Madrid playmaker Modric has excelled at times in Russian Federation, both on the ball and in terms of his leadership qualities.

That allowed Croatia to reach the semi-finals for the first time since the 1998 World Cup in France, which was their first as an independent nation.

The crowd in Hyde Park went berserk as England scored, and those watching on the huge screen were drenched in beer as plastic cups flew through the air amid wild celebrations. Victory would see them return to the same venue to face either France or Belgium in the final.

"They of course have a very strong midfield so, (it is about) denying them space and making sure awareness of distances and coverage of the pitch is correct and (knowing) the right moments to press".

The crowd fell a little flat as the game went into extra time, with many perhaps fearing the prospect of penalties and the memory of the last time England made it so far at Italia 90 - a 4-3 penalty shootout loss to West Germany.

"It's tough, we're gutted", he said.

While left-back Ivan Strinic is certain to start, Croatia's preferred right-back Sime Vrsaljko is yet to fully recover from a knee injury suffered during the game against Russian Federation.

However, Southgate refuses to accept the idea that England will be significantly fresher.

"The higher the level of opponent, if you press in a disorganised fashion, then you will get picked through, and we have got to be conscious of that".

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