England dreaming but Croatia set to provide biggest SWC test

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Vida has quietly been one of the standout performers at this World Cup, and Croatia will be relieved he avoided a suspension for a rather ill-advised video published online after the win over Russian Federation. I felt something unusual in my knee and after talking with the doctor on the sideline we decided I should come off. "We're looking forward to the future", said Young. They were completely out on their feet late against Russian Federation.

"We were not certain what this team might be capable of", Southgate admitted to ITV, mindful of England's many recent failures.

Their one defeat came against Belgium in their final group game, in a match between two essentially reserve sides.

Still, Croatia have Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic in midfield, and if they are given time and space to create openings for themselves and their teammates, this would go a long way in helping alleviate the problem.

The Real Madrid ace has been outstanding in Russian Federation.

Monaco goalkeeper Subasic saved three penalties in Croatia's shootout win over Denmark in the round of 16, and another in the quarter-finals as the Vatreni dramatically ousted hosts Russian Federation on penalties.

While the set piece has been England's most decisive weapon on their run to the semi-finals, and they won a penalty shootout to beat Colombia, Croatia will feel they have the edge if the match remains deadlocked after extra time.

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"There is still a lot to play".

"I've met quite a few of those players and we know exactly how they're held and perhaps in the modern era that would be even crazier, social media and everything else, the global thing is so much bigger", Southgate said.

This will be England's first meeting with Croatia at a major tournament since the Euro 2004 group stage, when the Three Lions triumphed 4-2. We go 1-0 down, in danger of going home. But there is less pressure on them now. They had to go through extra time and penalties in both knockout matches against Denmark and Russian Federation but emerged successful in the end to reach the semifinals.

Per the Mirror's David McDonnell, Dejan Lovren and Danijel Subasic are doubts for Croatia, but full-back Sime Vrsaljko has been ruled out, according to Robert Cottingham of MailOnline. - Eight of England's 11 goals at the 2018 World Cup have been scored via set pieces - since 1966, the only team to equal that number in a single World Cup tournament are Portugal in 1966 (also eight goals).

Although Croatia are the most hard opponent England will have faced in the tournament, Southgate's words suggest he will continue with his attacking formation and personnel. "We have dealt with hard situations in games".

"England have great players - they are a fantastic team", he added.