‘WaistcoatWednesday’: England fans don waistcoats ahead of semi-final against Croatia

Eric Dier England World Cup 2018

Eric Dier England World Cup 2018

Croatia topped their World Cup group in Russian Federation with three wins out of three games, scoring seven goals and conceding just one.

England needed penalties to beat Colombia in the Round of 16, but eased into the last four with a trouble-free 2-0 victory over Sweden. The main issue has been a lack of cutting edge up front that's made goal opportunities, let alone goals, hard to come by.

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.

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. The more big games we're involved and the more they come out successful in, the more belief it will build.

Real Madrid playmaker Modric, who was at Tottenham Hotspur earlier in his career at the same time a young Kane was starting out, has been a particular inspiration.

Monaco goalkeeper Subasic saved three penalties in Croatia's shootout win over Denmark in the round of 16, and another in the quarter-finals as the Vatreni dramatically ousted hosts Russian Federation on penalties.

Vrsaljko says that he expects the match against England to be completely different than the games against Denmark and Russian Federation.

This will be England's first meeting with Croatia at a major tournament since the Euro 2004 group stage, when the Three Lions triumphed 4-2. They also have flaws that we will try to exploit them and it will be a long 120 or 90 minutes. But there is less pressure on them now.

Croatia booked their spot in the last four the hard way after their last-16 and quarter-final games against Denmark and Russian Federation respectively went to penalties .

He said: "The feel of this group of players is very similar to the players we had then".

Per the Mirror's David McDonnell, Dejan Lovren and Danijel Subasic are doubts for Croatia, but full-back Sime Vrsaljko has been ruled out, according to Robert Cottingham of MailOnline.

"But any team in a World Cup semi-final is going to find the energy and going to find the motivation".

Southgate's plan has worked so far, so much so that an influx of England fans is anticipated in Moscow on Wednesday - many of them have bought into "Waistcoat Wednesday" in tribute to Southgate's World Cup outfit. So we won't win the game just because Croatia had half an hour more football than us three days ago.

"They have a lot of quality, they play well, well organised and a physically strong, but we are also aware of our quality".

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