Croatia wary of 'young, alive, attacking' England ahead of semi-final showdown

11 July, 2018, 07:35 | Author: Clarence Schmidt
  • Croatians players celebrate after the penalties during the round of 16 match between Croatia and Denmark at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Nizhny No

The Croatians are enjoying their best World Cup since coming third at the tournament in France in 1998 and are aiming to keep the festivities going by beating Russian Federation and booking a semi-final berth against either Sweden or England.

The victor in Wednesday's semifinal match at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow will return there for a final on Sunday against France, which beat Belgium 1-0 in St. Petersburg on Tuesday.

Russian Federation head coach Stanislav Cherchesov claims his squad have earned the adoration of a nation after reaching the 2018 World Cup quarter-finals on home soil.

There was a surprise inclusion among the 23 players as a rubber chicken was thrown around in the early part of training.

I am playing in the quarter-finals.

Despite the pre-World Cup barbs and snipes regarding Russia's quality and the politically-charged commentary related to the hosts, they bowed out in style, having exceeded expectations and injected the tournament with a healthy dose of enthusiasm.

But as in the previous match against Denmark - which Croatia also won on penalties after an insipid 1-1 draw - all too often his team mates failed to do anything with them. "We were together. You were the 12th, 13th, 15th and 16th player".

After 10 years of Real's Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona's Lionel Messi dominating the Ballon d'Or, there has been talk that leading his country to World Cup glory could see Modric break the pair's stranglehold on the award for the world's best player.

"We have to be united, go forward and apply pressure".


Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev attended Russia's two elimination matches - its win over Spain, which prompted wild partying in the capital, and the quarter-final loss to Croatia.

He's ready to face the music now and says "it's nice to hear people enjoying it again".

This is the first time they have reached the knock-out phase since - and they had to qualify for Russian Federation via the play-offs - and Luka Modric reckons their good fortune is long overdue.

"I hope we can outdo them".

"They are our heroes, they are our inspiration, they brought us to this point, and we would like to continue on their way, and hopefully we will take a step further tomorrow if we have the strength and luck to do so", he added.

"Certainly we are expecting the England players to show us some lovely football".

The day after their hard-fought defeat at the hands of Croatia in the quarterfinals of the World Cup the team visited the Fifa Fan Fest in Moscow to personally thank the fans for their unbelievable support throughout the tournament.

"Obviously we work on them in attack and defense, and they are vitally important for us", said Ashley Young, one of England's set-piece specialists.

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