7/10/2018 7:19:03 PM (GMT+3)

Modric key to Croatia’s success against England

Modric key to Croatia’s success against England

MOSCOW: Croatian still recall their best World Cup performance till date when they beat the Netherlands 2-1 in the third-place play-off at the 1998 edition.

When they play England in the second semifinal in Luzhniki Stadium here tomorrow, the Croats will celebrate their 20th year of that epic win.  

Croatia striker Andrej Kramaric is excited about their semifinal match against the Three Lions.

“This happens once in a lifetime. No one is tired, we are all eagerly awaiting the game. England were one of the favorites before the tournament. They have good young players. We will have a very tough game,” said Kramaric, who scored against Russia in the quarterfinals.

It won’t be an easy match for both sides, and whoever controls the midfield will emerge winner.

“We’ve come here to enjoy the semifinals. We’re here to show our best,” sad Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic.

The Vatreni played 240 minutes in six days and exhausted players pose the biggest problem for Dalic. His side have scored nine goals, with eight different players, but the coach is undoubtedly looking for a greater contribution from his forwards.

All eyes will be on Croatia’s master orchestrator Luka Modric, who will renew his contest with English midfielder Jordan Henderson after they faced each other in the recent Champions League final, representing Real Madrid and Liverpool respectively.

“I think we’re just concentrating on what we want to do and what we want to create. We’ve obviously done OK so far, but we want to keep going,” said Henderson.

England’s rise to prominence has surprised everyone include their critics, who now believes that there’s a chance for them to emulate the 1966 feat.  

“It's the best opportunity that England ever had, and probably might ever have. We’ve shown character and belief. I’ve to dream big,” said Kyle Walker.

Gareth Southgate’s boys have survived the test of time by beating teams like Colombia and Sweden. They have shown that they can adapt to the different styles, but this time they’ll focus on overcoming Croatia’s dangerous midfield.

“We took each game by game. We’ll continue to do that. There’s no need to make it bigger than what it already is. We need to focus on the job at hand,” added Henderson.