Federation Internationale de Football Association 2018: Finally, England and Croatia have to banish semifinal blues

Federation Internationale de Football Association 2018: Finally, England and Croatia have to banish semifinal blues

Federation Internationale de Football Association 2018: Finally, England and Croatia have to banish semifinal blues

To that point, we had been allowing Spain to play their game, passing the ball like we all...

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.

In a World Cup where set-pieces have played such a huge role and with teams becoming ever more cautious as the final approaches, that edge could prove the difference between England ending 52 years of hurt or falling at the penultimate hurdle.

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The A-list couple are believed to have brought their parents to the island to help care for the children while George works. Sardinia is a large Italian island in the Mediterranean Sea and is over 500 miles from Clooney's villa in Lake Como.

"He was a constant threat to Sweden, of course he hasn't scored the goals he would have liked to have scored but for myself and the players he has been a crucial part of the way that we have been playing", he said. As we regroup, he turns to me and says, "right that's enough, time to lift the tempo, let's get about them".

England, meanwhile, reached the semi-finals for the first time in 28 years with the help of eight goals from set-pieces, more than any other side in the tournament, including three penalties.

England progressed to the last four of football's flagship tournament for the first time since 1990 with a 2-0 win over Sweden on Saturday while Croatia advanced by overcoming hosts Russian Federation on penalties.

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Ronaldo's Madrid team-mate Modric, however, does not believe that a transfer will materialise. This prompted mass speculation throughout the past few days, but the rumours died down soon.

Gareth Southgate's side's potency from set-pieces was certainly on the minds of Croatia after they were forced into penalties by Russian Federation.

"We experienced the extra time and penalties (against Colombia) and we know the physical and emotional outcome of that", he said.

The Three Lions have had several fitness worries going into the match, with Jordan Henderson suffering from a tight hamstring in the final stages of the win over Sweden and goalkeeper Jordan Pickford hurting his thumb. Victory would see them return to the same venue to face either France or Belgium in the final.

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Red Bull pair Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo were fifth and sixth respectively in the provisional qualifying results. Lewis said: "That lap took everything out of me, it was the toughest lap I've ever had to do in a qualifying session".

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