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England have already won a shootout in Russian Federation, against Colombia in the last 16.

Can Southgate now become the first manager to win a World Cup semi-final with England on foreign soil as he bids ultimately to match the achievement of Alf Ramsey's side? "We've got to be prepared for them with the likes of Luka Modric in the team, who's a fantastic player".

Prediction: Worn down after two straight penalty shoot-out wins, Croatia eventually fall victim to yet another set-piece goal from England. We are purely focusing on ourselves and what we want to do as a team and the collective is really the most important thing.

Southgate has been just the voice of reason England have needed to prevent anyone from getting too carried away.

He scored another penalty during the epic shootout against hosts Russian Federation to get them into the semi-finals.

"We've approached every game in the same way, our preparation for all the matches has been the same and we feel we're in a good place".

Operating in tandem with Barcelona's Ivan Rakitic, Modric will be out to dominate central midfield and build a platform to allow him to link with his forwards, or embark on a foray or two of his own into the box.

Real Madrid playmaker Modric, who was at Tottenham Hotspur earlier in his career at the same time a young Kane was starting out, has been a particular inspiration.

While a penalty shootout may not be guaranteed, a draw after 90 minutes is our prediction for Wednesday evening's match.

Modric started that match at Wembley and remains integral to Croatia's game 11 years later, the captain having been widely hailed as one of the best players at the finals in Russian Federation.




"That would be our biggest success as a sporting nation, considering we have a population of around four million".

"There is still a lot to play".

The Croats are back in the World Cup semi-finals for the first time since running to take the bronze medal in 1998, while the Three Lions haven't featured in the last four since 1990, when they finished fourth. "But we have nothing to lose, we will enjoy this game, and hopefully we can write history", said defender Dejan Lovren, of Premier League side Liverpool.

"But it will be really tough to stop Croatia if it comes down to penalties". But there is less pressure on them now.

While England enjoyed a relatively stress-free 2-0 win over Sweden in the last eight, Croatia had to come through a grueling extra time against hosts Russian Federation and then a penalty shootout. "And then with the ball, play with the freedom and expression that we have and the same patterns and movements that we have shown".

Thousands of supporters in Russian Federation and millions at home will watch nervously as the team face Croatia for the right to play in Sunday's final - and potentially end 52 years without a major trophy.

Right back Sime Vrsaljko limped off during the quarterfinal win over host Russian Federation and goalkeeper Danijel Subasic had a hamstring injury during extra time but remained in the match.

However, Southgate refuses to accept the idea that England will be significantly fresher.

"Yes, we're going into a semi-final but to us it's the next step along the journey".

"Come here, and we'll watch it together". You will highlight certain players and positions they're likely to take.


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