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techkenyot.com July 17, 2018


Gareth Southgate says England face toughest World Cup test against Croatia

11 July 2018, 06:53 | Henrietta Morgan

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It's coming home. Or it's not.

The nation has embraced Gareth Southgate's young team for restoring pride with England's best World Cup run since 1990. The most-cherished national team memory remains the 1966 World Cup final victory at Wembley over West Germany, a demarcation point in the island's history as much as 1066 (the Norman invasion) and 1707 (union with Scotland). If we do it in five hours, I'll be fine.

The victor will take on France in Sunday's showpiece, while the loser will be forced into a play-off for third place against Belgium.

Southgate said he was convinced that win or lose on Wednesday, his team have a bright future after decades of English under-achievement on the worldwide stage.

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Croatia has come into existence as a country for example and the Three Lions opposition have also reached a semi-final in that time, losing to hosts and eventual winners France at the 1998 World Cup. The game will start at 7pm BST on Wednesday.

Right back Sime Vrsaljko limped off during the quarterfinal win over host Russian Federation and goalkeeper Danijel Subasic had a hamstring injury during extra time but remained in the match. Each side has won two of the four meetings since then, which includes England's infamous 3-2 defeat at in November 2007, which saw it miss out on a Euro 2008 spot and led to the departure of boss Steve McClaren.

"But we enjoy to play against big teams, as we showed against Argentina, and have nothing to lose".

Modric started that match at Wembley and remains integral to Croatia's game 11 years later, the captain having been widely hailed as one of the best players at the finals in Russian Federation.

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"England are one of the favourites to win the World Cup and you have to respect that", he said. "The age of the players, the improvement in the players, the hunger in the players has been apparent for everybody to see". We feel proud and happy we are in the semifinals, but we do not want to stop there.

Croatia are wary of the threat posed by England captain Harry Kane, the tournament's leading scorer with six goals so far, while England will have to close down arguably the best player of this World Cup, Luka Modric.

"I watched the last two games in a very nice bar at the Lakes Resort Hotel Vilamoura. You're just nit-picking in terms of my performances".

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