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Croatia 'stopped Messi' so can cope with Kane - Dalic

11 July 2018

England have progressed to their first World Cup semi-final in 28 years, but Croatia defender Dejan Lovren - who plays his club football in England - says he is not paying attention to the World Cup fever that has swept the country.

England have for long desired to be at this stage. They have achieved something that countries like Spain, Germany, Australia, who were expected to perform better, couldn't achieve.

"There were questions over Sime Vrsaljko but our right-back trained normally and could be ready", they stated below an image of the player in training.

England's achievement in reaching the last four has been played down by some after they qualified from a group containing Tunisia and Panama before meeting Colombia and Sweden in the knockout phase.

Modric has played a starring role for Croatia in the World Cup so far, helping them reach the semifinals of the competition for the first time since 1998 after a nail-biting penalty shootout win over hosts Russian Federation last week. Can we beat Croatia?

"Now it's probably the last World Cup for a lot of us", Corluka said. "We are glad to see you".

It promises to be an epic battle when Croatian experience takes on English youth.

Croatia struggled to find rhythm in their penalty shootout knockout game victories against Denmark and Russian Federation with boss Zlatko Dalic claiming the defensive style of their opponents stifled their creativity. "And I don't see why it would be a surprise that Croatia went this far because we have great players".

"But we believe in our strengths", he said. "In principle, we played as we planned, [but] the goals we conceded, we shouldn't have conceded, but that's football", 54-year-old former global 'keeper said. "We did not want to risk some passes that would tip the balance in our favour".

Key to England's run to the last-four stage has been their set-piece efficiency. Against Russia too, Modric came into his own more in the second session as Rakitic slipped into a deep-lying midfield role leaving Modric to go for adventure. Wing-backs Ashley Young and Kieran Trippier have been key to providing the corners.

Gareth Southgate thinks England could get an even bigger reception than the heroes of 1966 if they manage to win the World Cup.

Croatia 'stopped Messi' so can cope with Kane - Dalic