Saturday, 15 December, 2018

Croatia's Mandzukic says team eager to prove themselves

World Cup 2018: England vs Croatia: Mandzukic speaks tough ahead of clash Russians catch the football bug. The world catches the Russia 2018 virus
Cary Erickson | 12 July, 2018, 07:16

In spite of Croatia being the strongest team that England have faced so far, coach Gareth Southgate insisted Tuesday "England will continue playing with the same approach and shape" that they have so far done in the tournament.

"The images that we are now seeing from all parts of Croatia suggest that the nationalist frenzy has begun, and everyday life is being subordinated to football", says Dario Brentin, a researcher at the University of Graz, who is now working on a thesis titled "Sport and Nationalism in Post-Socialist Croatia".

"It's the third time I've cried in the last two weeks - Denmark, Russia, now this", he said. If the reaction of the fans in Belgrade to Rakitic's winning penalty was anything to go by, they have already been forgiven.

Croatia will be without their right-back Sime Vrsaljko when they face England on their semi-final match of the Russia World Cup 2018 at Luzhniki Stadium.

Fighting for the chance to take on France in the final, England scored yet another set piece goal just minutes into the match.

Croatia is the fourth-smallest country of the 32 World Cup teams with just over 4 million people.

"It's great to win".

However, FIFA says the sentence is not final because the former Dinamo Zagreb director general is appealing to a higher court.

Many Irish will echo Gareth Southgate's attitude to 'football's coming home' song
However, through my crash course in the other* football, I keep finding more and more striking parallels in the trajectory of each team and their supporters.

He added: "Two years ago, I remember what happened two years ago", referring to his team's 1-0 defeat to Portugal in Paris in the Euro Cup final.

Speaking to ITV, former Croatia manager Slaven Bilic said winning the World Cup would be the greatest sporting achievement in the country's history, which he now rates as a third-placed finish at France 1998.

Across the city, the Grove Pub and Restaurant on Stafford Street was at capacity with hopeful England fans.

Russian Federation is staging its first-ever FIFA World Cup, which kicked off in Moscow with a remarkable opening show at Luzhniki Stadium on the evening of June 14.

Instead, the loss left some in tears. "We are going to play England in the League of Nations (in October) and we don't have a proper stadium to play that game". I felt something unusual in my knee and after talking with the doctor on the sideline we decided I should come off.

Peter Corcoran watched on the edge of his seat, alongside his family and friends. "We didn't play well in the first half, we didn't control the game as we wanted".

"It's so special to do something with the national team".

"They really have a lot of pace, like Belgium, and get plenty of numbers forward. We've done enough to get to the semifinal" he said.