England monitoring Jordan Henderson and Jamie Vardy ahead of World Cup semifinal


Paul Merson gives his verdict on the World Cup semi-finals as England, Croatia, Belgium and France battle it out in Russian Federation.

Leading SA bookmakers BET.co.za have installed France as 2/1 for the overall title, followed by England (5/2), Belgium (13/5) and Croatia (4/1).

It proved to be a match too far for the Swedes, who advanced further than they ever did with Ibrahimovic - the team's star for more than a decade - by being compact and hard to break down.

He said the England and Spurs defender the will treat the World Cup semi-final and any eventual final like a normal game.

First, his team needs to get past France on Tuesday to earn a spot in the final for the first time.

There are hundreds of people involved in the development of a player, at so many levels, and that's true with Jesse.

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In the minutes and hours that followed the triumph, joyous fans took to the streets in England to party, in anticipation of England's first trip to a World Cup semifinal since 1990.

The impression so far is that Southgate trusts his system and his players, and does not want to let the opposition dictate his approach. The magnitude of this match could unsettle any side, but Croatia seem to know what they are doing, even though they were far from unbelievable against Denmark and Russian Federation. 'He [Southgate] has been a big part of that'. After losing 1-0 to Belgium, England really have been in the easier side of the draw and they duly used that to their strengths. I find it impossible how Croatia can play back-to-back extra time and penalties, and then come again.

"I've met quite a few of those players and we know exactly how they're held and perhaps in the modern era that would be even crazier, social media and everything else, the global thing is so much bigger", Southgate said.

The striker has become the poster boy of the Three Lions' campaign in Russian Federation with six goals so far.

While France have their own plethora of attacking superstars, it will be defensive midfielder N'Golo Kante who holds the key to victory for Les Bleus.

'I just want to make them proud and it's really nice to see my dad - you know I had him as a coach when I was younger and he always wanted me to be a footballer.