Thursday, 20 September, 2018

Finally, England and Croatia have chance to banish semi blues

Rakitic on Modric WORLD CUP 2018 Rakitic on Modric"I don't like to see him at Madrid Sebastião Moreira EFE
Cary Erickson | 11 July, 2018, 23:19

Zlatko Dalic's side go into Wednesday's World Cup semi-final knowing they have to improve after battling through two penalty shoot-outs in the knockout stages in Russian Federation.

Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic gave her USA counterpart Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May Croatia jerseys Wednesday ahead of the World Cup semi-final against England.

"For England to beat Croatia and reach the World Cup final, they must stop the best midfielder in the world", Jenas told BBC Sport. "Really", The Washington Post said, despite the fact that it is a very small country, Croatia is famous for their 15 fantastic players in the world's strongest clubs.

After such tight matches, it is easy to forget that Croatia produced a feast of attacking play to destroy Lionel Messi's Argentina 3-0 in the group phase.

The midfield, in particular, has an enviable El Clásico combination of Real Madrid's Luka Modric and Barcelona's Ivan Rakitić.

Despite the pre-World Cup barbs and snipes regarding Russia's quality and the politically-charged commentary related to the hosts, they bowed out in style, having exceeded expectations and injected the tournament with a healthy dose of enthusiasm.

Another contentious point has come from Daily Telegraph revelations that FIFA has been covering up offensive incidents from Croatian supporters, letting the Croatian Football Federation off with a warning for the display of "political/discriminatory banners" after a match with Nigeria, a disciplinary sanction considered too lenient.

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"There were questions over Sime Vrsaljko but our right-back trained normally and could be ready", they stated below an image of the player in training.

"Just as much as if I played and we lost every match, I don't think it would be my fault either". He has scored 3 goals from 3 penalties.

"He has minor issues but we have a huge game tomorrow".

The Telegraph reports that both FIFA, the worldwide football governing body, and Russia have refused to state the number of drug tests the Russian players completed prior to the World Cup. Those players on the pitch must be perfectly fit.

This World Cup has been one of surprises. We have played five games, but being exhausted can not be an alibi.

"I think he's had his fair share of criticism over the a year ago or so, but he's done so well over the last six months, really, especially after the start of the season. But we will be, because there's a great spirit in this side".