Croatia ace to play through pain barrier against England

Doug Mendoza
July 10, 2018

This campaign marks the first time England have reached a semi-final in the tournament since 1990, and Gareth Southgate's young side have also claimed England's first ever penalty shootout win in a World Cup.

England progressed to the last four of football's flagship tournament for the first time since 1990 with a 2-0 win over Sweden on Saturday while Croatia advanced by overcoming hosts Russian Federation on penalties.

While Croatia possess arguably the best central midfield pairing in the tournament in the shape of Real Madrid's Luka Modric and Barcelona's Ivan Rakitic, Southgate's language does not indicate he is about to bring in Eric Dier as an additional defensive midfielder alongside Jordan Henderson.

"It's football but, thank God, in the end, we're in the semi-final". I'm not going to focus on that.

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Should the same XI that started the game against Sweden line up to face Croatia?How to follow:Live on BBC Radio 5 live, live text commentary online, mobile, the BBC Sport app and Connected TV.

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.

Strong, mobile, indefatigable and good in the air, Mandzukic looks to make life as hard as possible for the defence, stretching play to allow the likes of Modric the space they need to get into the danger zone around the box. "They have a lot of youngsters, but they are really good, fast, they play for great clubs".

The goalkeeper struggled with a muscle injury during Croatia's quarter-final victory over Russia, Subasic needing treatment in extra-time before a heroic performance in the penalty shoot-out.

Other reports by GizPress

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