Croatia v England
July 11, 2018 -- The FIFA World Cup in Russia enters the semi-final stage, in which the remaining four teams compete to be crowned World Champions. The second semi-final, hosted in Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium, features Croatia, captained by talismanic midfielder Luka Modric, against England, who have exceeded national expectations under the calm guidance of coach Gareth Southgate.
Croatia, boasting the talents of Modric, Mario Mandzukic and Ivan Ratikic, breezed through the group stages, which included a spirited victory over Argentina. Despite faltering in the knock-out stages, with matches against both Denmark and Russia going to intense penalty shoot-outs, their resilience and ability to perform under pressure has seen them achieve their best World Cup performance since 1998.
England started their campaign with assured victories over Tunisia and Panama before losing to Belgium after resting several key players. The 1966 champions, captained by Golden Boot leader Harry Kane, conquered the persistence of Colombia in the Last 16 with their first penalty shoot-out victory in a major tournament since 1996. Aided by an inspired performance from goalkeeper Jordan Pickford the Three Lions overcame a stubborn Sweden side in the quarter-finals to reach only their third World Cup semi-final, and first since 1990.