11’: Croatia Needs to Regroup
Croatia appears a bit of irritated, and a bit of out of types, after the objective. Lovren simply whacked a ball into the stands at midfield after a teammate handed it again to him on the spot with England gamers round. Not sensible.
9’: Croatia Gets a Corner
Now it’s Croatia with a nook. Modric to take it, however there’s a little bit of shoving on the spot so we pause. England clears — clumsily — and Kane almost springs Sterling lengthy. But his mark will get again to expertly poke it free with a reached-around toe. Risky play, finished magnificently.
7’: Sterling Gives Croatia a Scare
Raheem Sterling inflicting hassle down the best now, twice, however Subasic is out to smother the second to the left of his objective.
6’: Set Pieces Rule This Cup
I suppose we shouldn’t be stunned by one other set piece objective: that’s 70 — 70!!!!!! — on this match. Or nearly half the whole.
5’: GOAL! England Leads
Kieran Trippier simply stepped up and took it like a professional. Super free kick — excessive and proper — and Subasic by no means had an opportunity. That objective is Trippier’s first for England.
Four’: Free Kick for England
Dele wins a free kick in a harmful spot on the high of the circle in entrance of the Croatia objective. Trippier and Ashley Young stand over it, and now Maguire comes over along with his two cents. A set piece, who’d a thunk it?
2’: Referee Exerts Control
A talking-to for Lingard from the referee Cakir, proper after Dele will get one. Lots of nervous power right here, and the referee needs to maintain a lid on additional stuff straight away.
Croatia’s supervisor, Zlatko Dalic, is a pacer. Gareth Southgate is within the dugout, maintaining his vest tidy.
1’: Bad Start for England
An England turnover and Henderson fouls to cease what might have been a fast counter. Expect quite a lot of that.
That was the loudest roar but for the kickoff countdown: and we’re off. Enjoy.
Croatia’s finish unfurls a big banner that claims “Thank you Russia” in Cyrillic throughout its nationwide anthem. That’s the way you win over the neutrals, folks.
England’s Rallying Cry
Well that is odd: they’re enjoying the 1990s hit “Football’s Coming Home” over the loudspeakers contained in the Luzhniki. Long a working joke — the music bemoans England failures — it has turn out to be the rallying cry across the workforce. But I wouldn’t be thrilled with the singalong if I used to be Croatian.
England vs. Croatia: The Odds
England is a slight favourite on this recreation, with the chances translating right into a 60 p.c likelihood to advance. The over/underneath is 2 objectives. Harry Kane is the large favourite to attain the primary objective, at Four-1, adopted by his teammate Raheem Sterlin at 9-1. Mario Mandzukic is Croatia’s most definitely candidate at 11-1.
England vs. Croatia: The Fans
Both fan bases appear to sense the historical past inherent in tonight’s matchup — a primary World Cup remaining for Croatia, a primary since 1966 for England — and have turned out in drive. The English are singing already, and so they roared for his or her workforce. But the Croatians have numbers and full voices, too. The environment, no less than, will likely be extra electrical than France-Belgium was final night time. It can be nice if the match lived as much as it.
Raheem Sterling continues to be a lightning rod at any time when folks discuss England, which continues to be puzzling, no less than to Manager Gareth Southgate. Sterling, Southgate notes (accurately), is an important a part of what England does. His velocity destabilizes opposing defenses, permitting him to assault from deeper positions than a few of his teammates. He can work both aspect of the sphere, switching sides to maintain groups off stability. And his capability to work in tight areas and chase down even essentially the most hopeful of lengthy balls makes him harmful at nearly any second. Yes, he has not scored for England since October 2015, a degree his critics know by coronary heart. But it’s not at all times what Sterling does on the scoresheet that’s most vital, actually; it’s the mere risk that he may do one thing that will increase his worth.
“I am not surprised that Croatia have identified Raheem as a key player,” Southgate stated this week. “If you look at all of our attacking patterns and the way that our front four have combined and played, he has been instrumental in that.”
England’s Starting Lineup
The lineups are out and England doesn’t change a factor:
Goalkeeper: 1 Jordan Pickford (Everton)
Defenders: 6 Harry Maguire (Leicester), 5 John Stones (Manchester City), 12 Kieran Trippier (Tottenham), 2 Kyle Walker (Manchester City), 18 Ashley Young (Manchester United)
Midfielders: 20 Dele Alli (Tottenham), eight Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), 7 Jesse Lingard (Manchester United)
Forwards: 9 Harry Kane (Tottenham), 10 Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)
And why would they, with the whole lot working so effectively this far. That’s the identical three-man again line, with Walker, Stones and Maguire, flanked by Trippier and Young, who will once more be seeking to get ahead and assist in the assault. Henderson will get the lonely responsibility in central midfield, and his teammates (Lingard, Dele Alli, Trippier and Young) will want to ensure he doesn’t get overrun there by Modric and Rakitic.
Croatia’s Starting Lineup
For Croatia, Marcelo Brozovic has been chosen forward of Andrej Kramaric. Brozovic was the choose in opposition to Denmark within the spherical of 16, however Kramaric performed within the quarterfinal in opposition to Russia. The selection of Brozovic is a defense-oriented transfer, as he’s a deeper-lying midfielder, whereas Kramaric performs simply behind the striker, Mario Mandzukic.
Goalkeeper: 23 Danijel Subasic (Monaco)
Defenders: 21 Domagoj Vida (Besiktas), three Ivan Strinic (Milan), 6 Dejan Lovren (Liverpool), 2 Sime Vrsaljko (Atletico Madrid)
Midfielders: 10 Luka Modric (Real Madrid), 7 Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona), 11 Marcelo Brozovic (Inter Milan)
Forwards: 17 Mario Mandzukic (Juventus), Four Ivan Perisic (Inter Milan), 18 Ante Rebic (Fiorentina)
England vs. Croatia: The History
England hasn’t performed Croatia since qualifying for the 2010 World Cup. England gained each matches with ease, 5-1 at residence and Four-1 away. England’s stars in these video games like Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard. are now not a part of the nationwide workforce setup. But one in every of Croatia’s two objectives was scored by 22-year-old Mario Mandzukic, who at 32 scored the objective within the victory over Denmark within the spherical of 16.
Croatia’s Lone Premier League Representative
England’s whole workforce makes its residing within the Premier League, and the league had gamers scattered all through Tuesday’s first semifinal, too. But Croatia has just one participant who earns his residing in England: Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren.
Set Piece Trending
Samuel Umtiti’s objective in opposition to Belgium on Tuesday was the 69th set-piece objective of this World Cup, out of 158 over all. That’s a drastic improve from previous years, and speaks to adjustments for technical (it’s simpler to coach set items in a brief window than free-flowing attacking strikes) and tactical (video-assistant referees are expecting potential fouls within the penalty space). But Croatia and England are each adept at scoring on set items, so one would anticipate the pattern to proceed at the moment.
• Eight of England’s 11 objectives in Russia have come off set items. And Harry Kane’s are in all probability a consultant assortment: three penalty kicks, two set-piece objectives and a shot by another person that hit him and went in. So it’s not precisely been Brazil circa 1970 or something.
Harry’s Golden Boot?
England’s Harry Kane remains to be in line to win the Golden Boot because the World Cup’s main scorer. Kane has six objectives. Belgium’s Romelu Lukaku has 4 headed into the third-place recreation, and the one energetic gamers with three are France’s Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappé.
England vs. Croatia Top Story Lines
• England final performed in a World Cup semifinal in 1990, when it misplaced on penalty kicks to West Germany, which went on to win the trophy. Croatia performed its solely different World Cup semifinal in 1998; it misplaced to France, which went on to win the trophy.
• The stakes of a World Cup semifinal — the mere thought workforce is 90 minutes from the ultimate — can generally sap groups’ daring and risk-taking impulses. But so can fatigue. Croatia is coming off two straight extra-time video games gained on penalties, and it completed its quarterfinal on Saturday nursing a number of gamers by what seemed like overuse accidents.
How Croatia recovers will go an extended technique to what it tries to do in opposition to England, however the truth that many consultants nonetheless choose them to advance speaks to their depth of expertise. And England additionally has performed a tense extra-time recreation in opposition to Colombia within the final week, and whereas its quarterfinal in opposition to Sweden wound up being a bit extra of a stroll, the video games and the miles add up.
• The solely earlier workforce to win two straight penalty shootouts within the knockout rounds of the World Cup was Argentina in 1990. It misplaced its subsequent recreation, in opposition to West Germany within the remaining.
• The former Argentina participant Jorge Valdano wrote an ode to Croatia midfielder Luka Modric for The Guardian at the moment. Of Modric’s elegant but easy skill-set, Valdano wrote: “We’re not talking about a gift like Diego Maradona’s, rather one that consists filling the game with common sense. He doesn’t do impossible things; when he plays a pass, you see it and think: ‘That’s what I would have done.” There’s a merely magnificence to Modric’s recreation — easy brilliance blended with tireless effort — that any fan can respect.
• A midfield core of Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona) and Ivan Perisic (Inter Milan) behind striker Mario Mandzukic (Juventus) offers Croatia in all probability its finest shot at a World Cup title in a technology, and for a technology.
Some Pregame Reading
• France beat Belgium to say the primary spot within the remaining, however you continue to get the sense, Rory Smith writes in The Times, that they’re holding again from the perfect they are often.
• Have you seen that quite a lot of gamers don’t appear to really drink their power drinks? That they only appear to swish a mouthful round a bit after which spit the liquid out? Jeré Longman seen, and he went about determining what was occurring.
• England is struggling to come to terms with its workforce’s once-in-a-generation run in Russia, amid an ongoing political disaster at residence that has compelled many to re-evaluate what it means to be English. “No one expected this,” one fan stated. “We’re not used to this kind of success.”