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Justin Timberlake will show England-Croatia game at London arena before concert

11 July, 2018, 02:47 | Author: John Swanson
  • Gareth Southgate and England team

England are gearing up for their first World Cup semi-final since 1990 when they face Croatia in Moscow on Wednesday.

In the latest in a series of controversies, former global Ognjen Vukojevic was kicked out of their delegation on Monday and fined by Federation Internationale de Football Association for posting a pro-Ukraine video clip following their penalty shootout victory over Russia on Saturday. And a young, likeable side with an eminently sensible and humble manager in Southgate have captured the hearts of a nation. This has been key in winning penalties, which Kane has duly and confidently dispatched, and if England can start to find their main talent from open play then this wonderful World Cup run could just get that little bit sweeter. "We've got to be prepared for them with the likes of Luka Modric in the team, who's a fantastic player". They'll be one game from being World Cup winners. We are purely focusing on ourselves and what we want to do as a team and the collective is really the most important thing.

For all of the hype around England, they have yet to come up against one of the really big guns at the World Cup.

England, who made an early impression with a 6-1 crushing of Panama in the group stage, then overcame their shootout hoodoo in beating Colombia in the last 16 and looked composed and mature in the 2-0 quarterfinal victory over Sweden.

Their one defeat came against Belgium in their final group game, in a match between two essentially reserve sides.

Modric has been Croatia's key component in Russian Federation this summer with his two goals making him the top scorer, as well as completing more minutes than any other Croatian player with 485.

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The captain was the man of the match again in the penalty shootout win over Russian Federation in Sochi at the weekend.

Dejan Lovren talks up the talents of Harry Kane, but remains confident that he can stop the England striker from scoring against Croatia in Wednesday's semi-final.

For a country with a population of little more than four million, making it all the way to the final would be a remarkable achievement.

"We've been fortunate the FA have backed us financially to bring in a lot of staff, experts in lots of fields: physical, medical, coaching, to offer good support for the players".

A similarly masterful performance from the 32-year-old could spell the end of England's World Cup hopes in what is set to be a hard game for both sides. "The higher the level of opponent, if you press in a disorganised fashion, then you will get picked through and we have got to be conscious of that".

Since 1998, Croatia have endured disappointments at major tournaments themselves, notably losing on penalties to Turkey in the Euro 2008 quarter-finals.

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He is due to arrive in Helsinki the evening of July 15 for meetings the next morning with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto. Huntsman stressed the importance of going in to any meeting with Russian Federation "with eyes wide open".

It is the first time since 1998 that the nation of little over four million people have reached this stage of the competition, after they eliminated Russian Federation in a penalty shoot-out at the weekend.

"The more of these tests we can come through, the better, not just for now, but moving forward".

He has won more aerial duels than any other player in the England squad with 33 - Mandzukic is second for Croatia with 19 but that is some way off Maguire's success.

And Southgate had his England players warming up for today's training session by playing a possession game of "keep the chicken".

"Any team in a World Cup semi-final is going to find the energy and going to find the motivation".

"We'll just have to assess people as we go".

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