"We don't really care about who we play or who are the favourites".
Stones, and his defensive partners Harry Maguire and Kyle Walker, will need to be on their toes for the whole game against Croatia's lone striker, particularly when the ball flies into the area from a set piece.
But he is certainly well aware of the threat that Croatia pose in the centre of the field. "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", he said.
While England enjoyed a relatively stress-free 2-0 win over Sweden in the last eight, Croatia had to come through a gruelling extra time against hosts Russian Federation and then a penalty shootout.
In a World Cup where set-pieces have played such a huge role and with teams becoming ever more cautious as the final approaches, that edge could prove the difference between England ending 52 years of hurt or falling at the penultimate hurdle.
"We experienced the extra time and penalties (against Colombia) and we know the physical and emotional outcome of that", he said.
England have made their way to the semi-finals of the World Cup, the first time they have done so since Italia 1990.
Strong, mobile, indefatigable and good in the air, Mandzukic looks to make life as hard as possible for the defence, stretching play to allow the likes of Modric the space they need to get into the danger zone around the box. So we'll just have to assess people as we go.
"We are just going to stick with what we have been doing all the way through".
But they face their sternest test yet in the semi-finals when they come up against Croatia.
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