Published: Tue, July 10, 2018
Sport | By Ruben Hill

What to watch for in the World Cup semi-finals

What to watch for in the World Cup semi-finals

With a team featuring Davor Suker, Zvonimir Boban and Robert Prosinecki wearing blue shirts with a distinctive red and white chequerboard pattern, they beat World Cup giants Germany 3-0 in the quarter-finals in France, sparking delirium at home.

As England prepare to face Croatia in the World Cup semi-final on Wednesday, the previous meetings between the teams suggest we are in for an exciting contest.

Luka Modric said England "seem they are more like a team now" and coach Zlatko Dalic has pinpointed Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling as the dangermen, despite insisting Croatia "don't fear England or anybody else". England have been far more reliant on set-play strategy than fellow semi-finalists Belgium and France, who have struck three goals each from them, while their next opponents Croatia have scored from only one set piece and one penalty.

Danny, who lives in West London and works for Hackney Council, is now waiting to see if his lookalike's golden touch will take England all the way to Sunday's final. "There is pressure but also enjoyment of being in the World Cup semi-finals", Mandzukic said.

But victory was Croatia's, and it means they emulate their great side of 1998, who were beaten in the semi-finals by eventual winners France 20 years ago. And I think we will be celebrating whatever the outcome, no-one expected either team to get this far.

Coming off a 2018 World Cup that is absent any Team USA and hence down from the American participating 2014 tournament, yesterday's 10:45 AM PT starting Croatia v. Russian Federation game also provided a nice lift for Fox.

"We came to support our team as we do not think they lost", said Kristina Ladygina, waiting at the Federation Internationale de Football Association "fan fest" zone for the players to appear.

World Cup fever is sweeping the nation - and Danny McLaughlin has found himself at the centre of attention thanks to his wonderful resemblance to star player Harry Kane.

Despite defeat, the home fans broke into heartfelt applause as they cheered their beaten side long and loud after the final whistle in recognition of their achievements against the odds.

"We have enough time to rest and prepare well", he said.

"We did win. Most importantly, they won for us, for the whole country".

"I felt really relieved".

Immediately after his penalty went in Rakitic was mobbed by his team-mates - in repeat scenes of Croatia's last-16 shootout victory over Denmark. "We have everything needed to do that, a great team, great staff and I hope we will make the extra step", he said.

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