England vs Croatia: Southgate hopes England avoid semi-final stage fright

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That team was a lot more experience in terms of its age and experience of big matches, though, and had tactical understanding and technically good players.

While Croatia possess arguably the best central midfield pairing in the tournament in the shape of Real Madrid's Luka Modric and Barcelona's Ivan Rakitic, Southgate's language does not indicate he is about to bring in Eric Dier as an additional defensive midfielder alongside Jordan Henderson.

It has been 28 years since England were in a semifinal match of the World Cup and even longer since England have reached the finals of the World Cup.

Can he take England into the final for the first time since 1966.

Meanwhile, social media has been awash with support for the England team with several videos of celebrations following the win over Sweden going viral.

"England are one of the favourites to win the World Cup and you have to respect that", he said.

After a weekend of dramatic quarterfinal action that saw each game decided in a completely different manner, the 2018 World Cup is down to its final four.

Croatia have gone all the way in each of their two knockout games, drawing 1-1 with Denmark and 2-2 with Russian Federation after extra-time, beating both on penalties. Skipper Harry Kane is at the top of the race for Golden Boot with six goals.

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Croatia stand in their way tonight in what is the biggest game in English football for nearly 30 years.

Croatia are a challenge for England.

"Gareth's sideline style has meant our waistcoats are really scoring with our customers, with sales doubling since the World Cup began", said a spokeswoman for retailer Marks & Spencer. They are a step away from a final showdown at a FIFA World Cup with the strongest contenders in Spain, Argentina and Portugal shown the door in the first stage of knockouts and defending champions Germany out in group stage itself.

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. They'll be one game from being World Cup winners.

"We know we have some unbelievable players and a great manager and everyone is clear on what we want to do". "We've talked about how important it is to have that spirit".

"I've played against Modric a few times: he's a world-class player, one of the best I've played against".

But he is certainly well aware of the threat that Croatia pose in the center of the field.

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.

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