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'Croatia will play on counter and rely on Modric & Rakitic'
11 July 2018, 01:17 | Henrietta Morgan
Deserted shopping tills at Morrisons store in Newcastle just after kick off
Belgium can dare to dream of lifting a maiden World Cup, after a dramatic 3-2 win over Japan in the round of sixteen and a defensively composed performance to knock out five times World Champions Brazil with a 2-1 victory.
"All the celebrations and the songs they are singing back home, it inspires us as players to be able to bring the nation together and put smiles on people's faces".
Robert Prosinecki, a member of the 1998 squad, told AFP: "I would so much like that they be better than us".
Meanwhile, Croatia's first World Cup semi-final for two decades has revived the memories of the country's football high point and raised hopes that Luka Modric's side can go one better than their legendary predecessors. "I'm sure Gareth will have addressed that after seeing how they struggled after conceding against Tunisia and then Colombia".
Having closely watched Belgium's progress at Russian Federation 2018, the former African Footballer of the Year is impressed by the boys' confidence - no matter the opposition.
"Obviously we've been very strong at set-pieces so continuing to work on them and exploiting Croatia's weaknesses will be vital again". "They have a lot of self-belief".
However, if Belgium can play 90 minutes of soccer at full throttle, it will beat this young French team. Both teams are loaded with talent for the present and the future.
Subscribe to the IOL Sport Newsletter! . "What a great way therefore to show our support by ensuring that some of our recognisable civic buildings and the famous Black Prince statue on City Square, are now displaying their England colours with great pride!"
History beckons as France take on Belgium
The FC Barcelona centre-back has a knee injury, and his availability will depend on a fitness test closer to kick-off. The attacker has been crucial to Belgium's run to the semi-finals, providing two goals and two assists for his side.
"I have ambivalent impressions". He is known for being a pinch-hitter but this time he has really done well, especially against Japan and Brazil. Then it swatted away Brazil easily.
He admits France will be a different proposition but is confident the Belgians can overcome Didier Deschamps' men.
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