World Cup 2018: England vs Croatia Preview, Team News, Head-to-Head & Key Stats
The second semi-final of 2018 FIFA World Cup will see former world cup winners England taking on Croatia at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.
Road to the Semi-finals
England started off their World Cup campaign in a nail-biting fashion as they narrowly defeated Tunisia 2-1 in their opening match. The second match saw the deadlier side of this English side as they thrashed debutants Panama 6-1 while the third match against Belgium saw them losing 1-0 after making 8 changes to their starting lineup thus finishing in the second spot of Group G.
Round of 16 fixtures saw England taking on James Rodriguez-less Colombian side, in what proved to be a historic night for England as they won their first-ever penalty shootout in the World Cup after finishing 1-1 at the end of extra time. The quarterfinals were much more of a routine fixture as they defeated Sweden 2-0 to ensure their first World Cup semi-final since 1990.
Croatia started off their World Cup campaign in impressive fashion as they won 2-0 against Nigeria in their opening fixture. The second match saw Croatia dismantling pre-tournament favourites Argentina 3-0 to ensure the top spot in Group D and finished their group matches with a 2-1 victory over Iceland.
The round of 16 saw Croatia taking on Denmark, in a battle of the goalkeepers Croatia managed to defeat Denmark in the penalty shootouts which saw 5 penalties being saved after finishing 1-1 at extra time. The quarterfinals proved much tenser than the round of 16 as Croatia yet again won their second successive match on penalty shootouts against Russia, after both the teams scored in the extra time to finish the match 2-2, to ensure their second ever semi-final in a World Cup.
Match Date: 11 July 2018, Wednesday
Match Timing: 23:30 IST
Match Venue: Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Russia
England vs Croatia: Team News
First choice Croatian right-back Sime Vrsaljko has been ruled out of the semi-finals with a knee injury while goalkeeper Danijel Subasic is being monitored after suffering a hamstring issue in the match against Russia
England are expected to be at full strength with all the 23 players in the squad fit and without any suspensions
England vs Croatia: Probable Lineups
England XI: Jordan Pickford, Kyle Walker, John Stones, Harry Maguire, Kieran Trippier, Dele Alli, Jordan Henderson, Jesse Lingard, Ashley Young, Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane
Croatia XI: Danijel Subasic, Vedran Corluka, Dejan Lovren, Domagoj Vida, Ivan Strinic, Ivan Rakitic, Ante Rebic, Andrej Kramarić, Luka Modric, Ivan Perisic, Mario Mandzukic
England vs Croatia: Form Guide
Croatia comes into this match having been undefeated in all their World Cup matches.
England comes into the semi-finals after losing only one the previous 5 World Cup matches.
England vs Croatia: Head-to-Head
Croatia has never met England in the World Cup while the only previous meeting in a major tournament between these two sides resulted in England winning 4-2 in a group stage match at Euro 2004.
This will be the 8th time both these nations will be facing off against each other with England holding the upper hand with 4 victories and 1 draw and 2 defeats with the last match ending 3-2 in Croatia's favour. (infamous Wally with the Brolly match that saw England hopes of qualifying to the 2008 Euro end)
England vs Croatia: Key Stats
This will be England's third World Cup semi-final after they won the 1966 semi-final against Portugal and lost their 1990 semi-final against West Germany.
The current haul of 11 goals scored by the English team is the joint maximum they have scored in the World Cup with 8 of those coming in set pieces.
England has never beaten 2 European nations in a single World Cup since 1982.
Croatia has only lost once in 6 World Cup knockout fixtures and once against European opposition in 8 World Cup matches with both the defeats coming in the 1998 semi-final against France.
England vs Croatia: Prediction
England 1- 1 Croatia
England winning on penalties