Sunday, 22 July, 2018

England's squad all train ahead of World Cup semi-final against Croatia

England beat Croatia 5-1 the last time they met in 2009 Image England beat Croatia 5-1 the last time they met in 2009
Domingo Copeland | 11 July, 2018, 05:37

"I think Raheem has been fundamental to the way that we have played - his movement, the positions he takes up, his pressing of the ball, his work-rate for the team, the winning of free kicks and corners, his speed to stretch teams".

Jordan Henderson hopes to be fit to play in England's World Cup semi-final against Croatia on Wednesday.

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. "The higher the level of opponent, if you press in a disorganised fashion, then you will get picked through and we have got to be conscious of that".

Croatia, meanwhile have made the World Cup knockout rounds for the first time since 1998, when they reached the semi-final and finished third overall.

"They've got players all around the squad that are going to be hard opponents".

"But he is a world class player and he is extremely effective for his country, for his club, and he has been one of the best players here at the World Cup so far".

After a weekend of dramatic quarterfinal action that saw each game decided in a completely different manner, the 2018 World Cup is down to its final four.

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"We've defended well, scored in the last minute, conceded in the last minute, come through extra-time and penalties". The more big games we're involved in, the more pressure situations they're involved in and emerge from successful, the more belief it will build. The two teams last faced each other in World Cup qualifying in 2009, and both matches in that group went decisively to England - but that was almost a decade ago. - Mario Mandzukic assisted Andrej Kramaric's goal against Russian Federation in the quarterfinal - he has been involved in four goals at the World Cup finals for Croatia (3 goals, 1 assist), with only Davor Suker involved in more (6). They'll be one game from being World Cup winners.

As reported by ESPN FC on Monday, the inflatable unicorn races in the swimming pool at England's Repino base, as well as the Fortnite competitions, darts and 10-pin bowling, have turned this World Cup campaign into what Ashley Young described as a "holiday".

England needed penalties to beat Colombia in the Round of 16, but eased into the last four with a trouble-free 2-0 victory over Sweden.

But he is certainly well aware of the threat that Croatia pose in the center of the field.

"We know we have some unbelievable players and a great manager and everyone is clear on what we want to do".

The captain was the man of the match again in the penalty shootout win over Russian Federation in Sochi at the weekend.

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