Friday, 22 February, 2019

Pick your England XI for Croatia semi-final

Eric Dier England World Cup 2018 Getty Images
Kristopher Love | 10 July, 2018, 17:31

To that point, we had been allowing Spain to play their game, passing the ball like we all... Do you feel we need some extra steel in midfield to combat the likes of Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic?

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.

"We don't really care about who we play or who are the favourites".

"We'd been spending a lot of time on set pieces, right down to the details, all the runs and the blocks", said midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

But he is certainly well aware of the threat that Croatia pose in the centre of the field.

But Southgate thinks talk of that handing a physical advantage to England is being overplayed.

"They're very risky on set-pieces".

England needed penalties to beat Colombia in the Round of 16, but eased into the last four with a trouble-free 2-0 victory over Sweden.

England will face Croatia in the semi-final of the World Cup at 7pm, Wednesday 11 July.

"We experienced the extra time and penalties (against Colombia) and we know the physical and emotional outcome of that", he said.

"What they did was impressive but we want to keep writing our own history and enjoy what we are doing which is very positive", he added.

The big Croatian looks likely to shake off the hamstring injury that hampered him against the Russians and would be an imposing figure between the sticks for England's penalty takers if a place in the final came down to spot-kicks.