Gareth Southgate says England face toughest World Cup test against Croatia
Gareth Southgate says England face toughest World Cup test against Croatia
Image Lionel Messi with his head in his hands as Croatia beat Argentina 3-0
11 July, 2018, 02:45
Still, the Croatians have shown resilience, especially keeper Danijel Subasic, coming out on top despite an nearly comical list of setbacks that would have done in most teams. Croatia's midfield control depends on the exceptional balancing act done by Luka Modric and Rakitic, and Henderson is the only player at Gareth Southgate's disposal who is well-equipped to disrupt that rhythm.
"He was a constant threat to Sweden, of course he hasn't scored the goals he would have liked to have scored but for myself and the players he has been a crucial part of the way that we have been playing".
"Our physical performance coaches try to keep refreshing the warm-ups for the players and keep them stimulated, using a bit of fun to get them moving". "We prepare the same way for every opposition".
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"We don't have to shift from what we've been and what we've been doing because we can cover those players from within that system, albeit you know they can produce moments that you've got to be even more aware of".
Despite that, Modric's three man-of-the-match performances and two winning penalties from Rakitic in shootout wins over Denmark and Russian Federation have seen them match Croatia's best-ever World Cup performance 20 years ago in France.
England are the holders of the Federation Internationale de Football Association U17 World Cup and Federation Internationale de Football Association U20 World Cup - and are just two wins away from making it a unique hat-trick. [In 1996], that team had six captains of their clubs. That is what these guys have done. We go 1-0 down, in danger of going home.
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"Yes, we're going into a semi-final but to us it's the next step along the journey".
Henderson, if again selected as England's sole holding midfielder, will need to be at his disruptive best to prevent the Croatians developing a stranglehold in the middle of the pitch, while also watching out for those surging runs forward.
Croatia are a challenge for England.
Fatigue could be an issue for Croatia as the game wears on, given they have gone to extra time and penalties in both knockout games in Russian Federation, although they also won both shootouts.
"They are a fantastic team, they work for each other".
Dier said: "He (Modric) is a great player, one of the best in the world, and whatever position or wherever he plays it doesn't make a difference to a player of that quality. Hopefully we'll go out there and implement our plan". Many supporters are viewing this match as England's chance of revenge.
Given Croatia had extra time and penalties to recover from, England should come into the game fresher and they also have the edge in previous meetings, winning four of the seven encounters, including a 5-1 victory in their most recent match - a World Cup qualifier in 2009.
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The Three Lions are now daring to dream. and why not! This has been an incredible #WorldCup run and we've enjoyed every minute. Demi Lovato from the top of the charts on Sunday evening. "That England's gonna throw it away / gonna blow it away".
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Both players are absolute certainties for the Semifinal as they styles fit Southgate's system like a glove. Russian Federation in Moscow would be an incredible game to be involved in. "It is an incredible feeling".
Although Russia failed to book a semi-final encounter with England, Cherchesov claimed Putin was impressed by their display. Cherchesov has also been boosted ahead of the Croatia game by the return of Alan Dzagoev.
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