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Croatia star Modric expects a tough game against a 'strong' England

Croatia star Modric expects a tough game against a 'strong' England

Gareth Southgate's side play in the biggest game of their lives on Wednesday night when they face Croatia for a place in the World Cup final. - 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).

But neither side are in a mood for nostalgia or using the past as motivation.

"We are really proud with the style of our play, the intelligence of our play and that we have performed under pressure".

I hope we don't lose to the English because already you are in the final. "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".

- England has not beaten two European nations in a single World Cup since 1982, when it beat Czechoslovakia and France.

But on Monday, defender Ashley Young was quick to dismiss it's significance. Not what's happened in the past. I am tempted to say we'll score three but I'll stick with two.

Neither team came to Russian Federation being heralded as favourites but they have produced performances throughout the competition which have shown they were underestimated by the pundits.

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. It is the 2006 World Cup and we are playing Spain in the round of 16, a knockout match. The Three Lions are confident, and why shouldn't they be?

Croatia, who became independent in the early 1990s, have reached the World Cup last four once before, in their debut World Cup appearance in 1998.

Despite Kane transferring his form from the Premier League into the World Cup, with six goals to his name in Russia, Croatia's centre-back believes that he has the ability to win their latest tussle. They are unbeaten so far in the tournament.

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England manager Gareth Southgate and Harry Kane celebrate their entry into FIFA World Cup 2018 semifinals.

Despite that, Modric's three man-of-the-match performances and two winning penalties from Rakitic in shootout wins over Denmark and Russian Federation have seen them match Croatia's best-ever World Cup performance 20 years ago in France.

Wednesday's World Cup semifinal game between England and Croatia is at 2 p.m. ET on FOX.

They had to go through extra time and penalties in both knockout matches against Denmark and Russian Federation but emerged successful in the end to reach the semifinals. Their first encounter, in 1996, ended in a goalless draw. He has the best dribble defence in his team with an average of just 0.4 dribbles making it past him per-game. The center-back will be key to limiting England's threat from set pieces and will be a useful weapon in the opposition box, too.

Croatia's build-up to the tournament was overshadowed by the graft trial of former Dinamo Zagreb chief Zdravko Mamic and charges against captain Modric for alleged false testimony in that case.

"Our physical performance coaches try to keep refreshing the warm-ups for the players and keep them stimulated, using a bit of fun to get them moving".

Stones, and his defensive partners Harry Maguire and Kyle Walker, will need to be on their toes for the whole game against Croatia's lone striker, particularly when the ball flies into the area from a set piece.

In the latest in a series of controversies, former global Ognjen Vukojevic was kicked out of their delegation on Monday and fined by Federation Internationale de Football Association for posting a pro-Ukraine video clip following their penalty shootout victory over Russia on Saturday.

England: Here's something no one expected: England, the most neurotic of global soccer teams, might actually have reason to be confident.