'Croatia to counter, rely on Modric'

Ivan Rakitic

Every time a Croatian player appears before the media at this World Cup, he knows a question about Modric is coming, and every time the answer reflects the admiration there is in the squad for their captain.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia had never managed to go past the group stage and their defeat to Uruguay that did expose some of the qualities they were missing, including in attack, mattered little at that point.

He also said there was no need for him to give his team-mates any tips on England's players, as they were all well aware of who they are up against.

Luka Modric is the world's best midfielder and Croatia's greatest ever player, according to Jermaine Jenas. They certainly will not play monotonously like Spain.

Neither team came to Russian Federation being heralded as favourites but they have produced performances throughout the competition which have shown they were underestimated by the pundits.

Since that Argentina game, Croatia have done just enough to beat Iceland, Denmark and Russian Federation, but Dalic believes that is because they set up to frustrate his side, whereas England's more attacking style could suit them better. Meticulous preparation - including a trip to the United States to take in an National Basketball Association game - the selection of specific players with strong dead-ball delivery, and the defensive nature of high-pressure tournament soccer has led to a point where set pieces could yet lead England to a second World Cup title.

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He previously refereed Iran's 1-0 victory over Morocco and Argentina's thrilling 2-1 win over Nigeria. " England are one of the favourites to win the World Cup and you have to respect that", he said.

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In the text titled "The World Cup final will include one of these teams - England, Croatia, Sweden, Russia".

"They play for big clubs like Barcelona, Real Madrid, Inter Milan".

"Russia is the 70th best team in the world in the company of Cape Verde, Finland, Albania, Jamaica, and others".

"Luka and Rakitic are the best midfield pair in the World Cup", said Bilic. In 2002, 2006 and 2014 they were eliminated in the group stages, and they failed to qualify for the 2010 tournament. Subašić was characterized as a more reliable goalkeeper than Akinfeev, the talented Golovin is still inadequate to Modrić, and Mandžukić had the advantage over Artem Dzyuba. "But I think it is a football event".

Croatia may be best suited to counter-attacking and relying on the brilliance of Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic against England, according to former worldwide Filip Tapalovic. Alongside them is Inter Milan's Ivan Perišić and upfront the warrior-like Mario Mandžukić. All 20 previous World Cup-winning coaches were born in the nation they led to the title.

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