Monday, 24 September, 2018

England face Croatia for a place in the final

GETTY    
   Paul Gascoigne has urged Gareth Southgate to keep it GETTY Paul Gascoigne has urged Gareth Southgate to keep it
Rita Gibson | 11 July, 2018, 19:39

Meanwhile, if England beat Croatia on Wednesday, Gareth Southgate's side will face France in Sunday's final.

Against a worn out Croatian side that has been pushed to penalties in their past two games, England have a clear advantage and will look to Kane to make the most of it. That feels like an important fitness test, to me.

"Nothing unites English people more than the English football team doing well", he said.

For England, it will be a chance to return to the final for the first time since winning the tournament in 1966, and the "football is coming home" talk - a reference to England as where organized soccer got its start - has been growing as the team has advanced through the knockout stages.

"We shouldn't be surprised that Croatia are in the last four at a World Cup given the quality of players", said Dalic, who only took over as coach of the "Vatreni" towards the end of their qualifying campaign. England are favourites at $2.4 compared to Croatia's 3.65.

Croatia's squad has an average age of 27.9 while England, along with France, are the second youngest squad at the World Cup behind Nigeria at 26.

Prince William, the president of the FA, said: "A new generation is enjoying the magic of this World Cup run".

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Meanwhile, the last two games for Croatia, against Denmark and Russian Federation, ended the same: with Croatia winning in penalties.

Few more problems for the Croatian side to sort out, they are sweating on the fitness of their full-back Sime Vrsaljko.

There are a number of key battles that may well decide the game; how John Stones copes with the physicality of Mario Mandzukic will be one, as will how Jordan Henderson can cope playing against Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic.

"The over-under on total goals scored in this 2018 World Cup fixture is 2".

Should he strike on Wednesday against Croatia, Kane will join Wayne Rooney and Frank Lampard as the only other two players to bag goals for England on each day of the week.

England have not been in the semi-finals of the World Cup since 1990 when they lost on penalties to then West Germany.

Kane is now leading the race for the World Cup Golden Boot with six goals in the tournament so far. - Croatia scored two headers in its last match against Russian Federation - only one of its previous 29 World Cup goals was scored via a header.

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