Croatia ready for England in spite of extended matches

Heather Diaz
July 11, 2018

Russia's unexpectedly strong performance in World Cup 2018 has won over a new generation of fans despite the team's exit at the quarter-final stage.

The two building contractors from Cheltenham, western England, who drove all the way out to Russia in their Mercedes van last month, watched their team defeat Sweden in Saturday's quarter final in the Russian city of Samara.

Croatia can equal what that 1998 team did if it beats Russian Federation on Saturday in the quarterfinals and perhaps finally rid itself of that 20-year shadow.

It's what Croatia has done - or hasn't - in the four World Cups since that debut which has created the shadow this team plays under.

The match will be England's first World Cup semi-final since 1990.

Belgium won over Brazil advancing to the semi-finals with a score of 2-1.

In England's class of 2018, free kicks, corners and wide crosses are mostly provided by England's wing backs, Young and Kieran Trippier, and they are proving tough to defend. "We are now on a good way and have great support in Croatia and I believe in our team we can do something similar".

Hosts Russia made history as they advanced to the top eight for the first time.

"To beat them, we'll have to make our own luck ... we'll have to be ready to suffer".

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"It wasn't a handsome game, but it was a battle", Dalic said.

Dalic's side breezed through a group featuring Nigeria, Argentina and Iceland and were one of just three nations - along with Uruguay and Belgium - to win all three games.

That came through a Denis Cheryshev first-half curler from outside the box, his fourth goal of the tournament and one of the finest at this World Cup.

"We'll do it better at Qatar in four years term".

"At certain times we lacked power but we played two times 120 minutes of football in six days", Modric said.

"But we've been a real team and we have got some excellent players, no doubt about that, but the collective strength has been massive".

"I'm not thinking about it, only about my national team succeeding", he said.

Croatia's long periods of possession were largely unproductive, the final pass was invariably missing and they were surprised by Russia's aggressive approach. "We want to play our best game then".

Goalkeeper Danijel Subasic had a hamstring injury during extra time against Russian Federation but remained in the match and played his role when the game went to penalties. "But now we are collecting those debts in this World Cup". "The team gave everything it had to the cause and we can sleep soundly tonight". Of course I have an important role on a daily basis, but the credit goes to my players.

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