England dreaming but Croatia set to provide biggest SWC test

Gareth Southgate and England team

Gareth Southgate and England team

Right-back Sime Vrsaljko came off in extra-time during Croatia's quarterfinal victory over Russian Federation and faces a race against time to be fit for the match against England tomorrow. They also have flaws that we will try to exploit them and it will be a long 120 or 90 minutes.

"I am perfectly ready and fit and I can say the same for my teammates".

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

"This is maybe a once in a lifetime opportunity".

The pair will battle again on Wednesday, and Alli has told The Guardian that he hopes to embarrass Modric again with another nutmeg on the worldwide stage this time - but his focus will be on attempting to help England reach the World Cup final.

Dalic admitted that trying to outdo the achievement of that great generation was a driving force for his team, skippered by the brilliant Luka Modric.

"We expect a very tough and demanding match, like every one in the World Cup".

"They are a fantastic team, they work for each other".

"This is what drives us".

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'There is a bit of luck with that because you can have contact injuries but we've been able to minimise muscular injuries throughout the seven weeks we've been together'.

A similarly masterful performance from the 32-year-old could spell the end of England's World Cup hopes in what is set to be a hard game for both sides. Although they've yet to beat anyone elite, they've struck upon a formula that brings out the best in players like Jesse Lingard, Jordan Henderson and Harry Maguire, and really shouldn't mess with a thing - especially on set pieces, from which they've scored six goals.

Lovren came out second best when facing the Tottenham Hotspur striker at club level nine months ago, being substituted a little over half an hour into Liverpool's 4-1 defeat with Kane already boasting a goal and an assist.

Lovren was not impressed when he was reminded of that day by an English reporter. "You are just nitpicking at my poor performances". It should not come as a surprise to you that I am putting Harry Kane forward as the key man.

"He's one of the best strikers in the Premier League", the defender told United Kingdom newspapers.

He will have a central role to play against a Croatia side that relies heavily on the creativity of Real Madrid's Luka Modric and Rakitic, who plays for Barcelona.

While Croatian players, who have been asked constantly about the generation of 1998 and never fail to express their admiration for the likes of Zvonimir Boban and Davor Suker, those comparisons are a weight they feel is unneeded.

Henderson, if again selected as England's sole holding midfielder, will need to be at his disruptive best to prevent the Croatians developing a stranglehold in the middle of the pitch, while also watching out for those surging runs forward.

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