The Three Lions look to extend their winning streak against a Croatia team hot off a thrilling penalty kick victory over the Russians.
After two straight victories in extra time, Croatia will need to find the net in regular time if they want a chance against an English team that is rolling on their way to a World Cup Final appearance. They will have the difficult task of scoring past Everton keeper Jordan Pickford, who’s been steady at the back for the English.
These two nations have met seven times, with England prevailing in four of the matches and only losing twice. Gareth Southgate’s men looked in-form against Sweden, prevailing 2-0 and never looking nervous in the slightest. Set piece goals have been a staple of England’s attack and defender Harry Maguire’s bullet header goal sealed the English squad’s fate. The Croatians have required penalties to surpass both Denmark and Russia, which should give the English more confidence heading into the match. Southgate will also hope that his main midfielder, Liverpool star Jordan Henderson, will be available for a matchup against the deadly Luka Modric.
Croatian defender Sime Vrsaljko has been ruled out of the semifinal, which is a huge blow to Zlatco Dalic’s squad. On top of that, starting goalkeeper Danijel Subasic is facing a late fitness test before the match, which could rule him out for the semis also. Croatia will need him between the posts if they wish to hold out Harry Kane and the speedy midfield of the Three Lions. Kyle Walker and John Stones will hope to use their positioning to hold the Croatian attack while their attacking counterparts look for openings to lock in a World Cup Finals appearance. Look for Raheem Sterling, who’s sniffed the goal multiple times but has yet to finish this tournament, to finally break through and prove to his home country that he can provide for the English.
This is England’s first World Cup semifinal appearance since 1990…
This is England’s first World Cup semifinal appearance since 1990, making Gareth Southgate the third English manager to reach this stage in the nation’s history. If all goes according to plan, he could go down in history as the manager to take the Three Lions all the way to the promised land.