5 & # 39 ;: GOALS! England Leads
Kieran Trippier just got up and took it as a professional. Super free kick – high and right – and Subasic never had a chance. This goal is Trippier's first for England.
4: Free Kick for England
Dele wins a free kick in a dangerous place at the top of the circle in front of Croatia's goal. Trippier and Ashley Young face it, and now Maguire comes with his two cents. A set that would thicken it?
2 & # 39 ;: Judge Exerts Control
A speech to Lingard from Judge Cakir, just after Sharing gets one. Lots of nervous energy here, and the referee wants to keep an eye on extra things right away.
Croatia's head, Zlatko Dalic, is a pacemaker. Gareth Southgate is in the dugout and keeps his west cleaned.
1: Bad Start for England
An English translation and Henderson fail to stop what could have been a quick counter. Expected a lot of it.
1 & # 39 ;: Kickoff!
It was the highest roar yet for the kickdown countdown: and we're out. Enjoy.
The end of Croatia unfurls a big banner that says "Thank Russia" in Cyrillic during its national democracy. This is how you win over neutrals, people.
England Rallying Cry
Well this is odd: they play the 1990s hit "Football's upcoming home" over the speakers inside Luzhniki. Long-running joke – The song meets England failures – It's been rallying crying around the team. But I would not be proud of the singalong if I was Croatian.
England vs Croatia: Odds
England is a small favorite in this game, with the odds translating into a 60 percent chance to advance. Over / under are two goals. Harry Kane is the big favorite to make the first goal, at 4-1, followed by his teammate Raheem Sterlin on 9-1. Mario Mandzukic is Croatia's most likely candidate at 11-1.
England vs Croatia: Fans
Both fan bases seem to know the history that is inherent in tonight's matchup – a first world cup final for Croatia, a first since 1966 for England – and proved to be in force. English is already singing, and they were weddings for their team. But the Croatians also have numbers and full votes. The atmosphere will at least be more electric than France-Belgium last night. It would be great if the match lived up to it.
Raheem Sterling continues to be a lightning rod when people talk about England, which is still puzzling, at least to Chef Gareth Southgate. Sterling, Southgate notes (correct), are an important part of what England does. His speed destabilizes opposing defense so that he can attack from deeper positions than some of his teammates. He can work on both sides of the field, switching sides to keep the team in balance. And his ability to work in tight spaces and chase down even the most hopeful of long balls makes him dangerous at almost any moment. Yes, he has not done for England since October 2015, a point the critics know of the heart. But it's not always what Sterling does on the results page, which is most important, really; It's only the threat that he can do something that increases his value.
"I'm not surprised that Croatia has identified Raheem as a key player," said Southgate this week. "If you look at all our attacking patterns and how our front four have combined and played, he has been instrumental in it."
England start line
The rulers are out and England does not change one thing:
Goalkeeper: 1 Jordan Pickford (Everton)
Defender: 6 Harry Maguire (Leicester), 5 John Stones (Manchester City), 12 Kieran Trippier (Tottenham), 2 Kyle Walker (Manchester City), 18 Ashley Young Manchester United
Midfielders: 20 Parts Alli (Tottenham), 8 Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), 7 Jesse Lingard (Manchester United)
Forward: 9 Harry Kane (Tottenham), 10 Raheem Sterling
And why would they, with everything so good so far. It is the same triple line, with Walker, Stones and Maguire, flanked by Trippier and Young, who will again look forward to and help in the attack. Henderson gets the sole duty in the central midfield, and his teammates (Lingard, Dele Alli, Trippier and Young) must ensure that he is not exceeded by Modric and Rakitic.
Croatia's starting line
For Croatia, Marcelo Brozovic has been elected before Andrej Kramaric. Brozovic was chosen against Denmark in the 16th century, but Kramaric played in the quarterfinals against Russia. The choice of Brozovic is a defense-oriented move, as he is a deeper midfielder, while Kramaric plays just behind the assassin Mario Mandzukic.
Goalkeeper: 23 Danijel Subasic (Monaco)
Defender: 21 Domagoj Vida (Besiktas), 3 Ivan Strinic (Milan), 6 Dejan Lovren (Liverpool), 2 Sime Vrsaljko (Atletico Madrid)
Midfielder: 10 Luka Modric (Real Madrid), 7 Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona), 11 Marcelo Brozovic (Inter Milan)
Forward: 17 Mario Mandzukic (Juventus), 4 Ivan Perisic (Inter Milan), 18 Ante Rebic (Fiorentina)
England vs Croatia: History
England has not played Croatia since qualifying for World Cup 2010. England won both matches easily, 5-1 at home and 4-1 away. England's stars in the games like Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard. is no longer part of the national team setup. But one of Croatia's two goals was scored by 22-year-old Mario Mandzukic, who scored 32 in the victory over Denmark during the 16th round.
Croatia's Lone Premier League Representative
England's entire team live in the Premier League, and the league had players spread throughout Tuesday's first semifinal as well. But Croatia has only one player who earns his home in England: Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren.
Set Piece Trending
Samuel Umtiti's goal against Belgium on Tuesday was the 69th goal for this World Cup, of 158 over All. It's been a dramatic increase in recent years, and speaks for changes for technical (it's easier to practice watching pieces in a map window than free-moving attacked moves) and tactical (video assistant judges watching potential errors in the penalty area). But Croatia and England are both adept at scoring the set pieces, so you can expect the trend to continue today.
• Eight of England's 11 goals in Russia have come from sets. And Harry Kane is probably a representative collection: three penalty points, two goals and a shot by someone else who hit him and went in. So it was not just Brazil around 1970 or something.
Harry's Golden Boot? 19659048] England's Harry Kane is still in line to win the Golden Boot as the world's leading scorer. Kane has six goals. Belgium's Romelu Lukaku has four led in third place, and the only active players with three are France's Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappé.
England vs Croatia Top Story Lines
• England played last in a World Cup semi-final in 1990, when it lost to penalty kicking to western Germany, who continued to win the trophy. Croatia played its only second world cup semi-final in 1998; It was lost to France, which continued to win the trophy.
• The World Cup Semifinal bet – the only thought that a team is 90 minutes from the final – can sometimes put the team's bold and risky pulses. But it can also be fatigue. Croatia comes from two straight extra-time games won on penalty, and it ended its quarter-final on Saturday's course several players through what looked like unwanted injuries.
How Croatia recovers will go a long way in what it tries to do against England, but the fact that many experts still choose them to move on speak to their depths of talent. And England has also played an exciting extra game against Colombia in the last week, and while the quarterfinals against Sweden ended up being a little more than a walk, the game and miles put up.
• The only previous team that won two straight penalty shootouts in the World Cup was Argentina in 1990. It lost its next match against West Germany in the final.
Former Argentina player Jorge Valdano wrote an oath to Croatia's midfielder Luka Modric for The Guardian today. Of Modric's sublime but simple skill, Valdano wrote: "We are not talking about a gift like Diego Maradona, rather one that consists of filling the game with common sense. He does not do impossible things, when he plays a passport, you see it and thinking: That's what I would have done. "It's a simple beauty against Modric's game – incredible shine mixed with tireless effort – which any fan can respect.
• A midfield core of Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona) and Ivan Perisic (Inter Milan) behind striker Mario Mandzukic (Juventus) probably gives Croatia his best shot at a World Cup title in a generation and for a generation.
Some Pregame Reading
• France beat Belgium to claim the first place in the finals, but you still get the opinion that Rory Smith writes in The Times that they hold back from the best they can be.
• Have you noticed that many players do not seem to actually drink their energy drinks? That they just seem to swish a mouth around a bit and then spit the liquid out? Jeré Longman noticed, and he went on to figure out what's going on.
• England struggles to agree with the team once in generations in Russia in an ongoing political crisis at home that has forced many to re-evaluate what it means to be English. "Nobody expected this," said a fan. "We are not used to this kind of success."
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