Sunday, 22 July, 2018


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

Ashley Young England 03072018 World Cup 2018: Justin Timberlake Raises 'Its Coming Home!' Slogan Ahead Of England's Semi-Final
Noah Ferguson | 10 July, 2018, 18:47

Strong, mobile, indefatigable and good in the air, Mandzukic looks to make life as hard as possible for the defence, stretching play to allow the likes of Modric the space they need to get into the danger zone around the box.

The contribution of Raheem Sterling remains a polarising debate in England with the Manchester City player without a goal for his country since October, 2015 but Southgate says the forward's contribution in Russian Federation has been essential. "They have a lot of youngsters, but they are really good, fast, they play for great clubs". The two teams last faced each other in World Cup qualifying in 2009, and both matches in that group went decisively to England - but that was almost a decade ago.

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.

"We don't really care about who we play or who are the favourites".

England needed penalties to beat Colombia in the Round of 16, but eased into the last four with a trouble-free 2-0 victory over Sweden.

But Southgate thinks talk of that handing a physical advantage to England is being overplayed.

"It's football but, thank God, in the end, we're in the semi-final".

"We experienced the extra time and penalties (against Colombia) and we know the physical and emotional effect of that", he said. "It's just little stuff to maybe give us an edge".

"None of us are satisfied and none of us are particularly hyped-up".

"We are just going to stick with what we have been doing all the way through".

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