De Bruyne and Belgium defeat France as England beat Croatia

Alexander Demyanchuk  TASS

Dalic was full of praise for the Barcelona midfielder, saying Rakitic was in career-best form heading into a last-four clash with England on Wednesday.

If Modric helps to inspire Croatia to glory at this World Cup, only seven weeks after claiming a fourth European Cup in five seasons with Real Madrid, there are unlikely to be too many players more worthy of the accolade, just as there would be few more popular winners.

"I thought I was playing another sport, to see the best player - maybe in history in his position - on the bench hurt a lot".

What kind of recovery Croatia can muster over the next three days may ultimately determine if it has a chance of taking out England and reaching the World Cup final for the first time when the sides meet in the semifinals on Wednesday night in Moscow.

That said, let's talk about why England will be lifting the World Cup trophy on July 15 in Moscow.

Mbappe, Ousmane Dembele, Samuel Umtiti, Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann will nearly certainly all be around in four years' time, but for Belgium, this World Cup has to be their moment.

One more rest day on Monday before the action resumes and we get closer to finding out the World Cup 2018 finalists for Sunday's final - will England make it through?

Croatia are a unusual animal at this World Cup - insofar as they have relied upon penalty shootouts twice to bail them out of trouble when they should have been good enough to see off Denmark and Russian Federation without the need for spot kicks. "Their generation are more than heroes for us", added Rakitic.

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The regulation time ended 2-2 before Croatia sealed their qualification to the last four of the tournament winning on penalties. In fact, started off by Harry Maguire's goal that got the new knights of St. George off and running yesterday morning and then another by Dele Alli, the England game was also up from its 2014 comparable.

This was quickly followed up with a 3-1 win over Egypt and Cherchesov's' team punching their ticket for the Round of 16. We have two matches to play.

Russia's indefatigable coach, Stanislav Cherchesov, managed to assemble a team that defied all forecasts and made the home nation proud.

Having beaten Argentina 3-0 in the group, Croatia have not subsequently been as fluent.

"But money isn't playing, Ferrari isn't playing, watches aren't playing, just 11 against 11 warriors in the World Cup".

They finished third in France by beating the Netherlands in the third place play-off and since then they have always come up short, but always played an attractive style of football.

Gareth Southgate's side's potency from set-pieces was certainly on the minds of Croatia after they were forced into penalties by Russian Federation.

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