Croatians who have made their mark in England

Jo Caldwell
July 10, 2018

With a team featuring Davor Šuker, Zvonimir Boban, and Robert Prosinečki and wearing blue shirts with a distinctive red and white chequerboard pattern, they beat World Cup giants Germany 3-0 in the quarter-finals in France, sparking delirium at home.

Croatia right-back Sime Vrsaljko will reportedly not make the 2018 FIFA World Cup semi-final against England on Wednesday on account of a knee injury. England have been far more reliant on set-play strategy than fellow semi-finalists Belgium and France, who have struck three goals each from them, while their next opponents Croatia have scored from only one set piece and one penalty.

England were drawn against Croatia in qualifying for Euro 2008 and World Cup 2010 with these two different campaigns producing wildly different results.

FIFA World Cup Ambassador and former Miss Russia Victoria Lopyreva smiles during an interview in Moscow, Russia July 9, 2018.

Prince William congratulates England on qualifying for semi-finals
Even if that is a small stretch the Three Lions can nearly always guarantee that the English captain will be able to beat the opposing keeper when they need him most.

England take on Croatia at the Luzhniki Stadium at 1900BST on Wednesday, hoping to get the win that would see them return to the same venue to face either France or Belgium in the final.

"I wouldn't say there are any glaring weaknesses (in England's team) since they are in the semi-finals, that says it all".

The penalty shootout win against hosts Russian Federation in the quarter-finals on Sunday seems to have gone a long way towards achieving that. "You were the 12th, 13th, 15th and 16th player", he said and promised that the team would demonstrate better results at the next World Cup in Qatar, although it would be hard without such support.

Modric has been on the front line in painful past failures for the national team, missing a penalty in a shootout as Croatia lost to Turkey in the quarter-finals of Euro 2008.

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"We did win. Most importantly, they won for us, for the whole country". As a new customer and the World Cup now in its final stretch there are likely to be several promotions of offer.

Croatia came from behind in Sochi with Andrej Kramaric cancelling out Denis Cheryshev's opener as the tie ended 1-1 after 90 minutes.

Everyone in the team is hungry even though he, with Bayern Munich, captain Luka Modric (Real Madrid) and Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona) have won major club titles such as the Champions League, Mandzukic said.

"I thought it was a great performance, obviously with so much pressure - the world watching on, England watching on", he added.

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"There were times when we lacked energy: 240 minutes of football in six days takes its toll on you", said Modric who, like Mandzukic and Rakitic, is into his thirties.

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