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Croatia ready for England battle, says Dalic
11 July 2018, 10:32 | Charlene Valdez
Source The Office of the President
Danijel Subasic saved another penalty and Ivan Rakitic converted the decisive one as Croatia ended the fairy-tale run of World Cup hosts Russian Federation with a 4-3 win on penalties on Saturday to set up a semi-final date with England.
The Real Madrid midfielder, touted as a Golden Ball contender, is likely playing at his last World Cup, and Dalic is delighted to see Modric at his best.
"We must rest now but I am sure we will have enough energy to face England because there is hardly a greater motivation than a World Cup semi-final".
The 51-year-old coach, who has only been in charge of the national side since October, was asked about England's strengths and weaknesses and said: "I wouldn't say there are any glaring weaknesses - they are in the semi-finals, that says it all".
"Our last three games were different because we played teams with a defensive approach", he said.
Speaking on the eve of Croatia's meeting with England, Dalic said: "We are a country where anything is possible, so there are no surprises".
Kane is leading the World Cup top scorer charts with six goals so far, and he has a chance to extend his lead over four-goal Romelu Lukaku when he takes on Croatia.
The challenge posed by Croatia is likely to be more demanding, especially as Zlatko Dalic's side features one of the best midfield pairings around, in Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic. England is also one of the favourites to win the World Cup and you need to respect that.
'Our style was cramped a bit and maybe we did not want to risk with passes, so we had to balance it out in the second half, ' Modric said. The other semi-final is Tuesday between France and Belgium in St Petersburg.
The match went into extra time and Croatian defender, Domagoj Vida, took them 2-1 up at 100 minutes with the added bonus of a salute from the nation's president, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović. The hosts lost 4-3 in the penalty shootout.
England's achievement in reaching the last four has been played down by some after they qualified from a group containing Tunisia and Panama before meeting Colombia and Sweden in the knockout phase. "We feel much easier at this point", said striker Mario Mandzukic.
"He has minor issues but we have a huge game tomorrow". 'To be fair, we've had some good sportsmen like [Goran] Ivanisevic in tennis, he won Wimbledon, basketball is huge and we were good.