Semi-Finals 2: Croatia v England, 11th July, 7pm(GMT)

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JJ1532

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Right then, here we go. Croatia weren't even an independent country the last time England made the semi-finals of a World Cup. They are playing for their first major tournament finals appearance in their history, so it would be some achievement.

The scouting for this one should be simple. They have a damn good team and some damn good players. Mandzukic, Rakitic, Perisic, Kovacic and of course, Modric. Underestimate them, fail to perform or make mistakes and they'll win, for sure. However, I don't care what anyone says, this Croatia team have flaws and are beatable. As we saw tonight, they are iffy at set pieces. At the back, they have Dejan Lovren, who we know has a mistake in him.

And after an impressive group stage, they have looked poor in the knockouts. Scraped by Denmark after a shootout and now scraped by Russia after a shootout. Plus they are carried a lot of walking wounded. Subasic with cramp, Mandzukic the same, Vrsaljko injured himself and had to come off. They will be feeling the effects of playing 2 tense extra time periods for sure and that might make a difference, especially as they have had less rest than England.

As for England, well, they have got better as the tournament has gone on personally. You can question the quality of the oppostion, but after a slightly underwhelming display against Tunisia, they swept aside Panama. Against Belgium.....meh, reserve team, who cares. Against Colombia, they played well enough to win in 90 minutes and should have done. Then they saw off Sweden with consumate ease.

They are proving lethal at set pieces, with teams having to resort to wrestling moves to stop them. And given how Croatia defended them at times, England should have joy in this area. Still, Croatia will cause them problems as they have good players in attack themselves and will know how to get at England better than possibly any team they have faced.

This is going to be a tense, tense game. Croatia have some top players and can demolish teams on their day. But how will 2 sets of extra time affect them? And as for England, in their first World Cup semi-final since 1990, can they end the hurt and make their first major final 52 years? Is it coming home for England, or is their journey ending painfully short once again?
 
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valefan16

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Will be tough and Croatia are decent but I still think we are better than them.

A lot has been bigged up about them after trashing Argentina but they were dire.

The reality is they’ve scraped through after fairly poor performances against Russia and Denmark and are far from invincible. Even in qualification they made hard work of a pretty easy group with defeats to Iceland and Turkey and a draw with Finland.

So we can win this and will be favourites to win especially with how much they’ve had to give to get to this stage whilst we cruised through today with relative comfort.

We have to watch Rakitic and Modric and may be wise to make tweaks to nullify them but we will have plenty for them to worry about too.

Going to be an exciting week though whatever happens.
 

Dirk

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So, your first World Cup semi-final for 28 years (22 years if you count the Euro, too). Congrats again, well done. You deserve to be there.
But you better should avoid a penalty shootout (yeah I know you've won the last one but Croatia won two and the third time is the charme. And your last 2 semi-finals ended with penalty shootouts and....not well...for you ;) )

So better win in regular time. You're more than capable to do it. For me you're favourites in this one. So good luck!
 

Jockney

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Thought this was interesting. Members of England squad who have cut their teeth in the EFL.

View attachment 9046
Sorry to harp on about this, but six years ago I watched Harry Kane score against Leicester to secure our place in the Championship for another season. Six years on and Leicester City have won a Premier League title in that time and Harry Kane is England captain, top scorer at the World Cup and leading the nation side into their first WC semi-final for 28 years. Football is fucking mental.

Also weird how different his role was here: a second striker behind Darius Henderson or Andy Keogh. Such a versatile player. Most of his goals were stunners, too.

1:53

 

mistermagic

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20 years after losing to France, Croatia are once again in a semi. Can't help but think they'll finish 3rd again. I'm more confident of England progressing than ourselves against Belgium.

Is it Tuesday yet?
 

Abertawe

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Sorry to harp on about this, but six years ago I watched Harry Kane score against Leicester to secure our place in the Championship for another season. Six years on and Leicester City have won a Premier League title in that time and Harry Kane is England captain, top scorer at the World Cup and leading the nation side into their first WC semi-final for 28 years. Football is fucking mental.

Also weird how different his role was here: a second striker behind Darius Henderson or Andy Keogh. Such a versatile player. Most of his goals were stunners, too.

1:53

Harry Kane is Ebeneezer Goode best moment. It's a shame the old place has gone but it went something like "Harry Kane is so basic - he ruins this U21 team - he will never make it"
 

Abertawe

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Should be lots of tickets freed up with Russia not making it. Anyone going out there?
 

valefan16

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Should be lots of tickets freed up with Russia not making it. Anyone going out there?
Hopefully get some charter flights on, only had the one to Samara from East Midlands for a day trip. £1500 quid mind just for flights! Guess Moscow won’t be as hard though to get to.
 

Pagnell

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Catch them playing like they did against Denmark and Russia and we will win, and fairly comfortably I reckon. If they go back to the quality they showed in their first group game then we will have a real battle on our hands.

Either way I fancy us to progress, which worries me a little, because it's the semi final of the World Cup. I really shouldn't expect anything but a loss. It's England.

I'm going for a 2-1 to us with no extra time needed.
 

mistermagic

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Should be lots of tickets freed up with Russia not making it. Anyone going out there?
No. Would consider it had not just spent 2 weeks there. $235 for a semi-final is ok. Met Peruvians getting ripped off for more than that for a group game.
 

WilsdenBantam

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Should be lots of tickets freed up with Russia not making it. Anyone going out there?
I've no holidays left at work, but if we get to the final I'm afraid I'll have to try and go(just have to be sick next Monday). Saved up a couple of grand for a deposit, but fuck it, it'll be once in a life time if we get there so can't not go if I get the opportunity.
 

SALTIRE

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Until yesterday I would've thought the Croats would win this game, but after back-to-back pen shootouts, they'll be out on their feet and this plays into the hands Southgate's serendipitous side. Shame really, as the final would be a better spectacle if the Croats win, even if only for that MILF president of theirs! :lol:
 

TTOCS

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#25
For a long time now I've thought the final will be France v Croatia. However the latter have been totally unimpressive in the last 2 games whilst we have played really well.
I therefore expect us to win but sadly I think we'll be the runners up overall.
 

TTOCS

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It's bloody tempting to go back over there but this is an experience to share with mates at home.
 

mistermagic

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It's bloody tempting to go back over there but this is an experience to share with mates at home.
This. Much better to attend the group games than the big, big games. Don't get much kick if you're going to the final by yourself.
 

Gassy

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I'm in 2 minds for this one (as usual). One side is confident of a 2-1 win. The other side tells me that Croatia only turn up for the good teams and we'll lose 2-0

Lets see
 
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