Sunday, 22 July, 2018

Croatia fear England's Sterling in World Cup semis

Head to The Roadhouse in Covent Garden Head to The Roadhouse in Covent Garden
Cassandra Castillo | 10 July, 2018, 16:04

This trend has powered the rise of teams that traditionally do not do well in World Cups.

England survived a penalty shoot-out against Colombia in the last 16, whereas Croatia emerged through extra-time and spot kicks against Denmark before going through the same ordeal again against Russian Federation in Saturday's quarter-final.

The Three Lions have scored eight times from set-pieces in Russian Federation already, the most at a World Cup since Portugal in 1966.

Croatia, meanwhile have made the World Cup knockout rounds for the first time since 1998, when they reached the semi-final and finished third overall.

While the set piece has been England's most decisive weapon on their run to the semi-finals, and they won a penalty shootout to beat Colombia, Croatia will feel they have the edge if the match remains deadlocked after extra time.

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"I was just a little bit tight before the game, so towards the last 20 minutes I just overstretched and I felt it a little bit", he said.

"We will have to improve on our set-piece defending between now and Wednesday".

"But we are looking forward to a different style of game against England because they like to play attacking football".

Captain and top scorer Harry Kane added: "Allan does finishing sessions with us, tells us about opposition defenders, goalkeepers, and tells us maybe where we can exploit a weakness". We go 1-0 down, in danger of going home.

Juventus striker Mandzukic is Croatia's main goal threat and although he has only scored once in Russian Federation, his game is about a lot more than just finding the net.

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