Sports

Croatian players' kids delight World Cup fans with post-win scratch match

Croatian players' kids delight World Cup fans with post-win scratch match

Those two moments of excellence helped Croatia reach its first World Cup final following a 2-1 win over England on Wednesday, setting up a title match against France.

The wait for England to reach a second final dates back to 1966, when it won the World Cup for the only time.

Jacobs said that whether England win or lose, the soccer fans who do come to his gig would be hard to handle.

The Barcelona defender headed France to a 1-0 semi-final victory over Belgium in St Petersburg and into Sunday's showdown with either Croatia or England and a chance to make up for the bitter disappointment of a final defeat by Portugal two years ago.

"We are concentrating on what's going on now".

He said: "I never, never, never, ever mention my own history".

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England's World Cup has been marked by set piece goals thus far - nine of the team's 12 goals in the tournament have come from free kicks, corners, and the penalty spot.

France's Manager, Didier Deschamps, who has held his position since 2012 and who captained his country to the World Cup in 1998, said: "This is exceptional".

England, who made an early impression with a 6-1 crushing of Panama in the group stage, then overcame their shootout hoodoo in beating Colombia in the last 16 and looked composed and mature in the 2-0 quarter-final victory over Sweden. He will just be hoping that all of them are fit enough for one last effort against a fearsome French side. Meticulous preparation - including a trip to the United States to take in an National Basketball Association game - the selection of specific players with strong dead-ball delivery, and the defensive nature of high-pressure tournament soccer has led to a point where set pieces could yet lead England to a second World Cup title.

"You know, we have always shown we can do well against the big nations", said Bilic. "They are young but they have character, a (winning) mentality".

Before the World Cup started, Croatian football was in the grip of a corruption scandal that saw both Modric and fellow player Dejan Lovren being charged with perjury. But that was before England made it to the soccer World Cup semi-finals in Russian Federation.

And it was Croatia who emerged victorious with goalkeeper Danijel Subasic saving from Christian Eriksen, Lasse Schone and Nicolai Jorgensen to put his side through to the quarter-finals for the first time in 20 years. It brings back a lot of good memories.