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Jaded Croatia look to master Modric to carry them through against England

10 July 2018, 11:39 | Anna Jefferson

'It will be a battle' - Croatia will have plenty of energy for England clash, says Dalic

England celebrate

"He is a fantastic player who can create magical moments and I think he has been one of the outstanding performers so far in this World Cup".

Pickford, 24, has been one of the standout performers under Gareth Southgate during the Three Lions' run to the last four of a World Cup for the first time since 1990.

The Russians were the lowest-ranked of the 32 teams at the World Cup but, just as in the previous round against Spain, they refused to die despite enjoying just 36 percent of possession against a superior Croatian team.

Modric has played a starring role for Croatia in the World Cup so far, helping them reach the semifinals of the competition for the first time since 1998 after a nail-biting penalty shootout win over hosts Russian Federation last week. "I told him we were disappointed".

Fernandes - who was born in Brazil, but rejected a chance to play for that country's national team in 2011 - sent his penalty kick wide of the net in the shoot-out, giving Croatia the advantage.

"We believe in our strengths", he said, as reported by BBC Sport.




The Croatians looked more comfortable from the spot, netting four of their five attempts with midfielder Ivan Rakitic firing home the decisive effort to put them into the semi-finals, prompting tears from Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia had never managed to go past the group stage and their defeat to Uruguay that did expose some of the qualities they were missing, including in attack, mattered little at that point.

They had also needed spot kicks to get past a dogged Denmark in the last 16, but Modric insisted they would not be exhausted for the last-four clash against England.

The Swedes were playing in the World Cup quarterfinals for the first time since 1994, when they reached the semifinals. "We don't want to stop". We have two matches to play and we are very motivated.

There's also some concern about goalkeeper Danijel Subasic after he required treatment late in the second half and during any breaks through extra time and the shootout after appearing to injure his right hamstring. But we have top center-backs.

"It will be hard", defender Dejan Lovren said. "It's going to be a man's match and we will have to step up".



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