Rakitic and Modric capable of 'magical moments', Dier warns England

Jo Caldwell
July 11, 2018

England survived a penalty shootout against Colombia in the last 16 whereas Croatia emerged through extra-time and spot-kicks against Denmark before going through the same ordeal again against Russian Federation in Saturday's quarter-final.

Croatia has never advanced to the championship match.

"He is a fantastic player who can create magical moments and I think he has been one of the outstanding performers so far in this World Cup".

Samuel Umtiti headed home from a corner six minutes into the second half saw France through to a meeting with either Croatia or England in Sunday's final.

"The progress of the England team in the world cup is very exciting for people across the country".

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"A lot of surprises at the World Cup, with Germany, Argentina, they are out of the competition, but also surprised by England, how they play, their style, how they play different to the past", he said.

"Football's coming home, I couldn't listen to it for 20 years, frankly".

"Two years ago, I remember what happened two years ago", he said.

Dalic's side earned a semifinal berth by beating Russian Federation on penalties while England progressed with a 2-0 win over Sweden. That made it back-to-back shootouts for Croatia following its narrow win over Denmark in the round of 16.

The coach of the 1998 side, Jaroslav Ciro Blazevic, said for a long time he did not want any other team to match his players' achievements. Right back Sime Vrsaljko limped off during extra time but Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic has described the injury as a "niggle".

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It has been a rocky road off the field, too, for Croatia.

"It's been two years to try and understand these footballers, the human beings behind the footballers, and to try and get a group that shared the same ambition, not just to use the national team to improve their brand", Martinez told a news conference. That leaves him free to play against England.

"His attacking ability has come to light during the World Cup".

This they did by pelting the bus of the team, which included Neymar, with stones.

"This generation has been underrated for a long time because of their poor results, but they have shown their quality when it mattered at this World Cup, and it will go down as a golden generation like that of 1998".

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