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ibusinesslines.com July 16, 2018


England dreaming but Croatia set to provide biggest SWC test

10 July 2018, 07:32 | Charlene Valdez

GETTYGareth Southgate has been trying to sell the team a vision of what’s possible

Gareth Southgate

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.

England finished second in their group, having lost their final group match to Belgium.

For a country with a population of little more than four million, making it all the way to the final would be a remarkable achievement. They have players like Harry Maguire, Harry Kane, John Stones and others, who are very strong.

Southgate had all 23 of his players available with Jordan Henderson seemingly overcoming tight hamstring and Jamie Vardy, who was feared to have played this last game in Russian Federation with a groin injury.

"We are just going to stick with what we have been doing all the way through".

And Southgate had his England players warming up for today's training session by playing a possession game of "keep the chicken". Their first encounter, in 1996, ended in a goalless draw.


The Liverpool midfielder was taken off five minutes from the end of the last-eight victory over Sweden at the weekend due to a tight hamstring.

However, Kane's partner in attack, Raheem Sterling, has pace to burn and England's totem will be on hand to benefit if that causes problems for the Croatians. In the last few seasons he's always scored more than 25 goals and he's one of the best strikers in the world.

Dier said: "He (Modric) is a great player, one of the best in the world, and whatever position or wherever he plays it doesn't make a difference to a player of that quality".

While the set piece has been England's most decisive weapon on their run to the semi-finals, and they won a penalty shootout to beat Colombia, Croatia will feel they have the edge if the match remains deadlocked after extra time.

Atletico Madrid right-back Sime Vrsaljko is a major doubt, having limped off in Sochi, meaning Vedran Corluka could come into the back-line and necessitate a slight reshuffle.



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