England and Croatia come into this semifinal from the “easier” side of the draw, both for the first time since the 90s. This is a game where both protagonists will fancy themselves to get a result, and the game is likely to be a low scoring affair. Both teams have come through extra time and penalties in the last 16 and quarters against the fairly average opposition.
England has scored 11 goals and conceded only four in their journey to the semifinals, with Harry Kane having scored six of these. He leads the chase for the World Cup Golden Boot. and is also a vital force in England’s chances of progressing to the final. England has played all their games in a 3-5-2 formation, and Kieran Tripper’s set-piece deliveries have been a key part of their armory. Raheem Sterling is yet to open his account this world cup, but Jesse Lingard, Dele Alli, and the central defenders have chipped in with their fair share of goals.
Croatia has had eight different goal scorers hit the net this world cup, more than any other team in the world cup. They have scored ten goals and conceding four so far, of which three have come after the group stage. This shows how badly their form has tailed over the past two matches, needing extra time and penalties to get past Denmark and Russia in the last 16 and 8 respectively. This is a far cry from the kind of form they demonstrated as they smashed three past Argentina in the group stage, during one of the more memorable matches of the world cup.
They will need to drastically improve against England, and much will depend on talisman Luka Modric. They will take heart in the way he outshined Jordan Henderson in the UEFA Champions League 2018 final between Liverpool and Real Madrid met.