England continue their quest for World Cup glory on Wednesday as they face Croatia in the second World Cup semi-final.
The match in Moscow will be England’s third World Cup final, having lost their last one in 1990 against Germany, but they won their first one in 1966 ahead of winning the trophy.
Somewhat ironically, when England were facing Germany in 1990 in their last semi-final – Croatia’s Football Association was being formed.
This match will be their second at this stage, having made the last four at France in 1998.
England boss Gareth Southgate admits that he needs to make sure that his side’s preparations need to be perfect.
“Emotionally it takes a lot from you,” Southgate said.
“Sweden talked a lot about that before their game with us – but it doesn’t mean you win the game.
“We have to focus on what we can control, make sure our recovery is correct and our physical level is right, and then tactically prepare for the game. Those are the things which will give us the opportunity to win.”
Croatia boss Zlatko Dalic insists that his side have nothing to fear with England, especially not Harry Kane having already stopped the likes of Lionel Messi and Christian Eriksen.
“we believe in our strengths,” he said. “We don’t fear England.
“Kane is top scorer – he’s not easy to stop. But we have top centre-backs. We managed to stop Messi and [Christian] Eriksen so hopefully we can stop Kane.”
See below for a preview on the game, including predictions from former England and Tottenham midfielder Andy Gray and our own Football Insider Graeme Bailey and bet365’s Steve Freeth.
Croatia 19:00 England
Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow
— talkSPORTDrive (@talkSPORTDrive) July 8, 2018
Croatia: Danijel Subasic; Sime Vrsaljko, Dejan Lovren, Domagoj Vida, Ivan Strinic; Ivan Rakitic, Marcelo Brozovic; Ante Rebic, Luka Modric, Ivan Perisic; Mario Mandzukic
England: Jordan Pickford; Kyle Walker, John Stones, Harry Maguire; Kieran Trippier, Dele, Jordan Henderson, Jesse Lingard, Ashley Young; Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane.
KEY FACT: If this match goes to penalties, Croatia will become the first nation in World Cup history to take part in three penalty shootouts at the one event.
Match odds from bet365: ENGLAND 13/5 DRAW 21/10 CROATIA 27/20
bet365 Pick: England to win @13/5
ANDY SAYS: You have to think England will get through here, but it is going to be close…1-0
GRAEME SAYS: Croatia have impressed me and this could be a third penalty shoot-out for them….1-1
FOOTBALLIndex – One to follow: Ivan Rakitic – next to Luka Modric he makes for a wonderful midfield and is very good value in the Index