World Cup 2018, England vs Croatia: Match Preview and Key players
England and Croatia are just one step away to reach the final of the FIFA World Cup 2018. Both the teams have surprised many fans around the world as they reached the penultimate round of the tournament.
England has a young team and was not expected to travel so far in this tournament whereas Croatia was considered as the dark horses of the tournament and they have certainly done more than they were anticipated to do.
England will be looking to qualify for their first World Cup final since 1966. Croatia will be playing in their maiden final if they found a way to get past through the Three Lions.
England Team News
The luck has been on the English' side; Last minute winner, overcoming penalty-shootouts and facing teams with relative less quality.
Dele Alli, Ashley Young and Kyle Walker, all have recovered from their knocks. Jordan Henderson has a slight problem in his hamstring but will be fine to start against Croatia. Jamie Vardy is also a concern for Gareth Southgate but made the substitutes bench in the last game.
Harry Kane - He remains the most vital part of England's attack even after drawing a blank in his section of goals in the past two matches.
He is at the Apex in the list of goals scorers in this tournament but Belgium's Romelu Lukaku is only two goals behind him and offering a solid competition for the golden boot.
Pickford - Gareth Southgate made it clear in the start of the tournament that Pickford will be his first choice goalkeeper in this tournament and the Everton's goalie repaid his manager's faith by making some flying saves in the knockout stages. His best save came when he denied Carlos Bacca from the spot during the penalty shootouts against Colombia.
Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitić will fancy shooting the long-range shots and England's number one has to stay on his feet to deny any such magical strikes.
Croatia Team news
Danijel Subasic is not completely fit but he will play against England to help Croatia to reach their maiden final of the World Cup.
Right-back Sime Vrsaljko and Dejan Lovren also picked up injuries against Russia and were absent from the training session.
Former Tottenham defender Vedran Corluka could start as the right-back in place of Vrsaljko.
Luka Modric - He is the catalyst for his side and his performance will be a crucial factor to decide whether Croatia advances to the final or not. He has scored two goals in this World Cup but missed a crucial penalty against Denmark, only to be rescued by Ivan Rakitic.
His performance against Russia in the second half was sublime where he looked to carry his side all by himself.
Ivan Rakitic - He, along with Modric, forms arguably the best midfield in this tournament. Rakitic has made 279 passes, behind only Luka Modric with a success rate of 85%.
His main job will be to derail the partnership of Jesse Lingard and Dele Alli who looks to find Kane or take shots from outside the box.
Who will progress to the final of the World Cup? Sound off your opinion in the comments section below!