Croatia & England will meet on Wednesday evening, with a place in the World Cup finals on the line. Both sides had differing quarter-final performances and are now just a game away from the biggest prize in World Football.
Croatia went all the way to penalties to knock out hosts Russia, and book their place in the semi-finals of the World Cup for the first time since 1998. Tiredness will be the major concern for head coach Zlatko Dalic after his side went to extra time and penalties in both their quarter-final and the round of sixteen games.
Although with a potential World Cup final on the line, you would expect the side which is crammed with talent to step up for the biggest game in the last 20 years for Croatia.
Danijel Subašić could be Vatreni’s secret weapon should it go all the way. The Monaco keeper came up with a number of crucial penalty saves including three against Denmark to book his nation a place in the quarter-finals. Even more impressive was how the 33-year old played through the pain barrier against Russia after injuring his hamstring, eventually saving Fedor Smolov’s spot-kick.
Croatia Predicted Team
Subasic; Vrsaljko, Lovren, Vida, Strinic; Rakitic, Brozovic; Rebic, Modric, Perisic; Mandzukic
As for England, they breezed past Sweden 2-0 to seal their first World Cup semi-final appearance since Italia 90. Gareth Southgate’s young Lions put in a mature performance to knock out the Swedes, and never looked particularly nervous in Samara.
After overcoming Colombia in a penalty shootout, the first time England have ever done so in a World Cup. Southgate has encouraged his squad to write their own history. A victory and a visit to their second ever World Cup would certainly do that, whilst simultaneously whipping up a whole nation into a frenzy.
England has a fully fit squad to choose from, and Southgate is likely to keep his faith in the side that did so well against Sweden.
Harry Kane has to lead the group from the front, and now has a great chance of ending the tournament as the golden boot winner. Kane, 24 has scored six goals in the tournament so far including three from the penalty spot. Although it’s not only his goal scoring antics which has defined the Spurs striker in Russia.
It’s also his work when he picks up the ball in tight situations and winning crucial free-kicks for England, couple that with his threat from set-pieces, it arguably makes Kane the best striker in the tournament. Kane was quiet in the victory over Sweden, but the Spurs striker will be looking to add a goal to his tally to fire the Three Lions to World Cup glory.
England Predicted Team
Pickford; Walker, Stones, Maguire; Trippier, Dele, Henderson, Lingard, Young; Sterling, Kane.