World Cup 2018: Croatia vs England prediction, team news, stats and preview ahead of semi-final showdown

The Sun 2 months ago

GARETH SOUTHGATE is out to make history by securing England's first World Cup final since 1966.

As the Three Lions have progressed, low expectations have given way to boisterous cries of "It's Coming Home".

 Harry Kane knows England can't count their chickens as they prepare to face Croatia

Alamy Live News

Harry Kane knows England can't count their chickens as they prepare to face Croatia

But Croatia have their own milestones to tick off having qualified for their first semi-final since 1998.

England are facing their toughest test to date but go in as favourites to set up a mouthwatering final with old foes France.

Key battles

Harry Kane will fancy his chances up against Dejan Lovren and Vedran Corluka.

The England striker gave Lovren the runaround when Tottenham faced Liverpool and will hope to serve up another lesson.

Jordan Henderson will need to rein in Luka Modric.

If the Real Madrid playmaker finds too much space he can make his side tick.


FROM RUSSIA WITH LIVE All the latest action, news, goals and gossip from the World Cup


 Luka Modric must be closed down or he could take control of the game

EPA

Luka Modric must be closed down or he could take control of the game

Excitement builds in Moscow as England and Croatia fans sing, dance and talk ahead of World Cup semi-final showdown

Weakest links

England have been a huge threat from set-pieces and will hope to expose the Croatian defence which could be susceptible to aerial assault.

But the Three Lions need to be more of a threat from open play and the young the side could work on their game management - especially after going ahead.

Likely line-ups

England: Pickford; Walker, Stones, Maguire; Trippier, Henderson, Young; Dele, Lingard; Sterling, Kane.

Croatia: Subasic; Vida, Lovren, Corluka, Strinic; Modric, Brozovic, Rakitic; Rebic, Mandzukic, Perisic.

 Gareth Southgate needs Jordan Henderson to continue his fine performances in midfield

EPA

Gareth Southgate needs Jordan Henderson to continue his fine performances in midfield

Ian Wright, Alan Shearer and Shaun Custis talk about England star Harry Kane and his key battle with Croatia defender Dejan Lovren ahead of World Cup semi-final

Best bets

After no penalties were given last night, a spot-kick feels like a certainty here. Betway are offering 13-8.

Neither side are rock-solid at the back so an England win with BTTS is a tasty 9-2.

Harry Maguire and John Stones are both 9-1 to score any time, while 13-10 is not a bad tip for in-form Kane despite the low price.

The stat that matters

England have scored at least twice in five of their last six matches against Croatia.

Croatia fans in Moscow are extremely confident going into the World Cup semi-final with England

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