Croatia vs England
Venue: Luzhniki Stadium
Kick off: 7pm
Croatia stand in the way of England making their first World Cup final since 1966 as the two teams meet in an intriguing Moscow semi-final.
England’s 2-0 victory on Saturday over Sweden has got the country dreaming that ‘football is coming home’ after 52 years of disappointments at major tournaments.
Just 3,400 English fans were in attendance for the win over Sweden but flights to Moscow have been jammed pack over the past 48 hours and it’s reported there could be over 10,000 inside the Luzhniki Stadium and more in fan parks.
Gareth Southgate thinks England could get an even bigger reception than the heroes of 1966 if they manage to win the World Cup.
“We have had events on in camp when some of those guys have been in when the road was named at St George’s (Park) after Sir Alf,” he said.
“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.”
Croatia have reached this stage before in 1998 when a team featuring Davor Suker and Slaven Bilic knocked out Germany in the quarter-finals before eventually losing to winners France in the semi-finals.
Croatia struggled to find rhythm in their penalty shootout knockout game victories against Denmark and Russia with boss Zlatko Dalic claiming the defensive style of their opponents stifled their creativity.
He hopes England will be more suited to their style of play, but added that recovering from two extended games will be difficult.
“We played twice for 120 minutes in six days and spent tremendously, physically and mentally,” he said.
“There was a lot of energy needed for it, we do not have much time and we have to be ready for the game in three days….I’m glad we demonstrated strength at such matches and adapted their style, we played the best we could and finally got those matches. I hope that against England it will finally be our style of play and our match.”