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Croatia plots 'football Brexit' as England FIFA World Cup semi looms

11 July 2018

Since that Argentina game, Croatia have done just enough to beat Iceland, Denmark and Russian Federation, but Dalic believes that is because they set up to frustrate his side, whereas England's more attacking style could suit them better. Croatia is much more diverse in the attack.

Overall, 42 percent of goals in the World Cup have come from set plays or penalties, beating the previous record of 36 per cent from the 1998 World Cup and smashing the portion of goals from these situations in 2014 (27 per cent), 2010 (24 per cent), 2002 (29 per cent) and 1994 (33 per cent).

Dalic has managed to get the best out of his players so far as they cruised through the group stage with three wins out of three games, including a win over Argentina. The internet is flooded with memes, videos and overzealous English fans, who also happen to be at almost every World Cup game singing "It's coming home".

Croatia captain, Luka Modric has admitted England's success from set-pieces is a major concern for them ahead of Wednesday's semi-final clash.

"Russia is the 70th best team in the world in the company of Cape Verde, Finland, Albania, Jamaica, and others".

This trend has powered the rise of teams that traditionally do not do well in World Cups. The Croatia midfielder would spend four seasons at White Hart Lane and it was a period in which he had a close-up view of the travails of the England team; the angst, anger and division that characterised the feel of it. "But Croatia can also cause England problems they haven't had before". Subašić was characterized as a more reliable goalkeeper than Akinfeev, the talented Golovin is still inadequate to Modrić, and Mandžukić had the advantage over Artem Dzyuba. "I expected to see him today, but I hope to see him soon.".

Forbes even wrote 5 things to know before the encounter, giving Croatia the advantage. Everyone has been out on the streets celebrating what we've achieved and that is a great source of pride for us.

Despite having talents such as Real Madrid's Luka Modric and Barcelona's Ivan Rakitic to call upon, Croatia's results had not been particularly impressive for several years. Other than Perišić (29) though, the trio are all the wrong side of 30 and may not see another World Cup.

England continued their prolific use of set-plays to break the deadlock in their 2-0 win over Sweden when Harry Maguire headed home from a corner.

Croatia plots 'football Brexit' as England FIFA World Cup semi looms