FIFA World Cup semi-final: Croatia vs England preview
England are a step away from reaching their first World Cup final since 1966, but 90 minutes of football and XI Croatian players stand in their way. After 52 disappointing years, England's fans are dreaming, once again, that football is coming home. As the Three Lions prepare for the semi-final clash, in Moscow, here is all you need to know about this fixture.
This is only the third time that England have made it to the semis of the FIFA World cup. In 1966, they beat Portugal 2-1 in the semi-final and went on to win their maiden and only title till date. However, in the 1990 semi-final, England lost to Germany in a penalty shoot-out. Kane and his boys will look to banish their big-match blues.
England have scored 11 goals at the World Cup this year, their most at the tournament. The last time they had scored 11 goals they went on to win the World Cup. Captain Kane has scored 6 of those goals. For Croatia, there have been 8 different goal-scorers in this campaign. Only Belgium have had more players finding the back of the net.
As an independent nation, Croatia made their first appearance in World Cup in 1998. Since then, this is the second time that they have reached the semi-finals. It is more than the likes of Argentina, England, Italy, Portugal and Spain, which have only one appearance. The European nations, with more semi-final appearances in this period, are Germany (4), France (3) and the Netherlands (3).
They have met on 8 occasions before, with England winning 4 of those encounters while drawing 2 and losing 2. At a major tournament, the Three Lions and Croatia have met just once, in the group stage clash of the Euro 2004, which the Englishmen won 4-2. Croatia, however, have lost just one out of their 6 knock-out matches at the World Cup.
Danijel Subasic, Sime Vrsaljko, Dejan Lovren, Domagoj Vida, Ivan Strinic, Ivan Rakitic, Marcelo Brozovic, Ante Rebic, Luka Modric, Ivan Perisic and Mario Mandzukic.