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giftedviz.com July 16, 2018


Pressure on Belgium's golden generation, England can outlast Croatia

09 July 2018, 11:47 | Pamela Mathis

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Modric-cropped

Barcelona midfielder Rakitic scored the decisive spot-kick as Croatia beat Russian Federation 4-3 on penalties after a dramatic quarter-final in Sochi on Sunday morning (Singapore time) finished 2-2 at the end of extra-time.

Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren is the only player in the Croatian team now playing in the English Premier League. We lost in a fair and great game.

"Not only is he playing well throughout the match, but he is showing great confidence about him which he proved with two decisive penalties in the round of 16 and the quarter-finals".

For the fifth straight game, Croatia will wear its change shirt of black and dark blue checks to play England on Wednesday for a place in the final.

This will be the first time that England will reach the last four of the World Cup tournament since 1990 when the reached this stages last.

Overall, 42 percent of goals in the World Cup have come from set plays or penalties, beating the previous record of 36 per cent from the 1998 World Cup and smashing the portion of goals from these situations in 2014 (27 per cent), 2010 (24 per cent), 2002 (29 per cent) and 1994 (33 per cent).

Mbappe, Ousmane Dembele, Samuel Umtiti, Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann will nearly certainly all be around in four years' time, but for Belgium, this World Cup has to be their moment.

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It was arguably France's most impressive display at the World Cup.

England trio Harry Kane, Kyle Walker and Harry Maguire are looking to guide their side to only their second World Cup final.

Croatia fans in Zagreb, meanwhile, erupted with joy as their side went through to the semi finals of the World Cup in what was the second straight match for both teams to be decided on a penalty shootout. Ivan Rakitic, of Barcelona, Modric's Real team-mate, Mateo Kovacic, and Inter Milan's Marcelo Brozovic would get in most teams in Europe, but if Jordan Henderson, Jesse Lingard and Dele Alli can combine to disrupt Modric's rhythm - and it will have to be a team effort - England will have cause for optimism. That was the only year the Croatians advanced past the group stage before this tournament. It goes to extra time.

Croatia often looked reluctant to attack and Modric's words after the game hinted at a lack of adventure that will surely cost them sooner or later.

The semi-final will be played on Wednesday and it promises to be an enthralling affair.

Besiktas centre-back Vida, 29, and his former Dynamo Kiev and global teammate Ognjen Vukojevic recorded a video message following Croatia's win in Sochi.

Gareth Southgate's side's potency from set-pieces was certainly on the minds of Croatia after they were forced into penalties by Russian Federation.



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