Jaded Croatia Look to Master Modric To Carry Them Through Against England

Russian fans left heartbroken as Croatia dumps the host nation out the 2018 World Cup

With a team featuring Davor Suker, Zvonimir Boban and Robert Prosinecki wearing blue shirts with a distinctive red and white chequerboard pattern, they beat World Cup giants Germany 3-0 in the quarter-finals in France, sparking delirium at home. They then edged out Denmark and hosts Russian Federation on penalties in the knockout stages to set up a semi-final with England.

"We took a hard route".

Bilic, who is responsible for persuading Rakitic to play for Croatia rather than his adopted country of Switzerland, was in charge in a previous victory for Croatia over England at a sodden Wembley in a Euro 2008 qualifier bringing to an end Steve McLaren's reign - the latter exiting with the epithet 'the wally with the brolly'.

Liverpool and Tottenham stars will face off for Croatia and England.

"We believed in its potential, and I think the games that we've prepared for, we had belief we would win, but there is still pressure in all of those matches, so I'm really pleased with how the team have emerged and developed".

"It's his quality that he's been showing for many years".

"But we are looking forward to a different style of game against England because they like to play attacking football". Defenders John Stones and Harry Maguire have combined to score three goals, with England's proficiency from set-pieces has seen them score eight of their 11 goals.

Dejan Lovren, a man who will be crucial to Croatia's enjoyment of the clash at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium, was sat next to Dalic on Tuesday and he exuded the same calm confidence as his coach.

He also said there was no need for him to give his team-mates any tips on England's players, as they were all well aware of who they are up against.

The first quarter-final match was played between Uruguay and France.

"I have all respect for Harry Kane".

"That defeat is completely irrelevant", he said, with a face like thunder. Since this is his last World Cup, given his age, I'm very glad he's among the last four at the World Cup, but all the other players are putting in that effort. You are just nitpicking a bad performance.

That caution is disappointing but if there is a silver lining for Dalic, it is that his team once again showed the mental strength to win on penalties - a not inconsiderable feat in front of a partisan 44,000 crowd in Sochi.



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