Croatia vs England preview FIFA 2018 Semi final.
England and Croatia have a chance to put to bed bitter memories of World Cup semi-final defeats, when the two nations face off in Moscow on Wednesday.
The Three Lions have never played in a semi-final of this global sporting event since losing to Germany in 1990.
Surprisingly, 16 of the 23 players in the current squad were not born when England came close 28 years ago, losing on penalties in the last four.
Gareth Southgate would be proud of this young squad, but he knows that the job isn’t done yet with Croatia breathing heavily down their neck and eager to upset the odds.
Croatia survived a scare twice in quick succession as their last two wins came via penalty shoot-outs, but that doesn’t take away the fact that they are one of the favourites to win the title.
Looking at how they started the tournament, both teams would fancy their chances to reach the final; something that would be historical for Croatia, having not achieved it before.
DATE & TIME
Kick off: 19:00 CET
Date: Wed, 11-Jul-18
Kyle Walker, Dele Alli and Ashely Young recovered from minor injuries to start against Sweden on Saturday but Jamie Vardy remains a doubt.
Gareth Southgate may consider Eric Dier or Fabian Delph to ease the pressure on Jordan Henderson but may feel no reason to make any changes against Croatia.
Jordan Henderson has a slightly hamstring injury but England are confident he will recover in time to feature.
Andrej Kramarić was surprisingly picked to start ahead of Marcelo Brozović against Russia on Saturday night but the latter could return to the starting XI here. This would enable Luka Modric to play further forward.
Dejan Lovren and Danijel Subasic both missed training at the start of the week but are expected to recover in time to face England. Croatia will, however, be without right-back Sime Vrsaljko, which means former Tottenham defender Vedran Corluka is expected to start.
STATS YOU NEED TO KNOW
Croatia are in their first World Cup semi-final since 1998. Zlatko Dalić have won on penalties in their last two matches and fatigue could end up catching up with their players here.
England are in their first World Cup semi-final since 1990. The Three Lions have had a fairly straightforward path until this point and this will be their first real test of the tournament. The fact they are the fresher of the two sides will benefit them.
England have scored nine goals in their last two matches against Croatia but it’s unlikely they will run away with this semi-final clash. Nevertheless, Gareth Southgate’s side will be disappointed if they don’t grasp this wonderful opportunity and reach the final.