England face Croatia for place in World Cup final
11 Jul 2018, 22:52 | updated: 11 Jul 2018, 23:13
Croatia's compact side will combat England's fast and direct football when they meet in the second semi-final of the FIFA World Cup with both teams aiming to recreate their own history by progressing to the title decider.
The Croats, basking in the afterglow of their golden generation of footballers, have reached the semi-finals for the second time in their brief history.
They will aim to better the third-place finish achieved by the star-studded squad spearheaded by the legendary Davor Suker at the 1998 edition in France.
For England, it is a chance to reach the final for the first time since their World Cup winning campaign at home in 1966, more than a generation ago. They reached the last four stages for the last time in Italy back in 1990. While Croats are in the semi-finals on the back of two knockout victories over Denmark and Russia via penalty shootouts, England got past Colombia and Sweden in the last two elimination matches, reports NDTV.
Just one match separates England from their first World Cup final since 1966 and Croatia from their maiden appearance in the summit clash of the mega event as the two sides set to lock horns in the mouth-watering FIFA World Cup 2018 semi-final clash at Luzhniki Stadium on Wednesday.
As World Cup fever builds at home, England are avoiding the hype as coach Gareth Southgate prepares his team in their tranquil base near St. Petersburg for their first semi-final since 1990. 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 Russia on penalties. While many England fans are surprised by the unheralded team's progress, midfielder Dele Alli says the squad always believed they could go far.