England focuses their first World Cup final berth since 1966 as they face Croatia in the second semi-final of Fifa World Cup 2018 at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on Wednesday, July 11.
Who will join France on Sunday?
England has suffered numerous heartbreaks in major tournaments over the years but Gareth Southgate's men have got the fans believing with their professional performances so far in the tournament.
They haven't been flamboyant despite getting a relatively easier draw in the knockout stages but have done just enough to reach the last-four of the World Cup.
Can Southgate's men deliver once again?
Southgate helped raise quite a few eyebrows when he named a young squad for the World Cup campaign but he has managed them wonderfully well. "It's coming home" is reverberating across the streets of major cities in England and has been a major source of inspiration for the team as well.
Captain Harry Kane is leading the race for the Golden Boot with six goals but the Three Lions have certainly not been a one-man army. They have played free-flowing football with the likes of goalkeeper Jordan Pickford John Stones, Harry Maguire, Dele Alli Kieran Trippier among others stepping up at different occasions.
England has managed to find any spark from open play but they have been lethal from the set-pieces, especially the corners that displays the work the waistcoat-wearing Southgate has done in very little time he has had with the national team.
Southgate and his men, who are growing in confidence with every passing game, received a big boost when they overcame their biggest hurdle — penalty shootout — against Colombia in the Round of 16. They comfortably overcame Sweden in the quarter-final and will be hoping to continue their good run into the final.
Can Modric-Rakitic duo deliver for Croatia?
On the other hand, Croatiarely on their star-studded engine room, which has delivered for them so far in the tournament. Real Madrid's Luka Modric and Barcelona's Ivan Rakitic will be England's biggest threats later today.
Rakitic played a holding role against Russia in the quarter-final and lacked the flair he showcased during the group stage demolition of Argentina. Coach Zlatko Dalic though believes England's style of play will allow them to express themselves more on the turf today.
"I hope that against England it will finally be our style of play and our match," Dalic said.
Croatia will be hoping the likes of Mario Mandzukic and Ivan Perisic step up on the big night. The performances of Andrej Kramaric and Ante Rebic should give coach Dalic a lot of confidence.
However, it will be interesting to see how much Croatia have left in their tank to offer, given they have survived two back-to-back, energy-sapping penalty shootouts in the Round of 16 and quarter-final.
Croatia vs England: Team News
Southgate revealed he has fully fit squad to pick from the big night thereby dismissing concerns over Jordan Henderson's fitness.
England probable starting line-up: Jordan Pickford; Kyle Walker, John Stones, Harry Maguire; Kieran Trippier, Dele, Jordan Henderson, Jesse Lingard, Ashley Young; Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane.
Croatia will be hoping goalkeeper Danijel Subasic recovers in time from a hamstring issue he was suffering during the quarter-final. Concerns remain over the fitness of full-back Sime Vrsaljko.
Croatia probable starting line-up: Danijel Subasic; Sime Vrsaljko, Dejan Lovren, Domagoj Vida, Ivan Strinic; Ivan Rakitic, Marcelo Brozovic; Ante Rebic, Luka Modric, Ivan Perisic; Mario Mandzukic
Fifa World Cup 2018 semi-final Global TV listings and start time
- US: Fox Sports, fubo TV; Live stream: Fox Sports GO
- UK: ITV, Live stream: The ITV Hub
- UAE: beIN MAX 3; Live stream: beIN Sports Connect
- Argentina: Canal 7, TyC Sports, DIRECTV Sports; Live stream: DIRECTV Play
- Australia: Optus Sport, SBS
- Bangladesh: PTV Sports, Sony ESPN
- Singapore: StarHub TV, StarHub Go
- France: TF1, beIN Sports 1; Live stream: beIN Sports Connect