England midfielder Dele Alli believes he 'can play better' against Croatia

Luka Modric

Fans roared as they overcame host nation Russian Federation in a nail-biting quarter-final penalty shootout. "You don't want to watch it back but we know how important it was, going into the World Cup, that we had to go back through it to come out stronger".

Underrated throughout the tournament, Croatia has seen off some tough opposition.

"They've got players all around the squad that are going to be hard opponents".

Croatia survived two penalty shootouts against Denmark and host Russian Federation to reach the semifinals, the first time it has been at this stage since the famous team of 1998 finished third in France.

"I think differently. Like his Real Madrid team-mate Toni Kroos, Spain's Andres Iniesta or another Croat, Ivan Rakitic, Luka is a rhythm-type player who sets the tempo of games and gives his team control of them".

In keeping with his even-handed and calm style, Southgate said his team were neither complacent nor too pumped up for Wednesday's clash at the Luzhniki Stadium, England's first World Cup semi-final since 1990. We feel proud and happy we are in the semifinals, but we do not want to stop there.

On the Federation Internationale de Football Association world rankings Croatia are 20th with England at 12th.

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Adorned in the red and white of Croatia, thousands have watched Modric and his teammates advance through to the semi-finals. In the other four games, Croatia's only variable to its 4-2-3-1 formation was whether to start captain Luka Modric in a deep midfield role and Andrej Kramaric more advanced, or to move up Modric and start Marcelo Brozovic.

While they haven't played with the attacking potential they're capable of, France have been measured and professional throughout this World Cup.

Pundit Paul Merson has told the Daily Star that he thinks Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren won't have slept well thinking about having to play against Harry Kane tonight.

Most of the England players have also come in to existence.

England and Croatia are teams that innovated over time but have generally been immutable during the World Cup, sticking to virtually identical starting lineups except for group phase finales, after advancement was secure. - Mario Mandzukic assisted Andrej Kramaric's goal against Russian Federation in the quarterfinal - he has been involved in four goals at the World Cup finals for Croatia (3 goals, 1 assist), with only Davor Suker involved in more (6).

Victoria Lopyreva, an official ambassador for the World Cup and a former Miss Russia, called on Britons on Monday to come to Moscow for the match.

The contribution of Raheem Sterling remains a polarising debate in England, with the Manchester City player without a goal for his country since October 2015, but Southgate says the forward's contribution in Russian Federation has been essential.

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