The large commotion around the Belgium vs France game has led many to almost forget about the other FIFA World Cup semifinal— England vs Croatia. The clash between England and Croatia, however, promises to be no less than an absolute thriller. It will decide who meets France in the World Cup final.
No pundit or expert expected either of these teams to reach this far. Now that they have, though, there is a deep sense of excitement, responsibility, and even pressure. Both teams are looking positive going into the battle, on the biggest stage of them all.
Both teams have startled with their performance so far
Croatia, the dark horse of the tournament, has left people amazed with its flamboyant football and undying energy. The team played brilliantly in the group stages. It won all three of its games which included a 3-0 thrashing of the Messi led Argentina.
Even though both of Croatia’s knockout matches went to penalties, it was able to showcase the attitude of champions during the shootouts. It beat Denmark 3-2 and host Russia 4-3 on penalties in the Round of 16 and quarter-final matches respectively.
To be honest, there weren’t many expectations from this English squad going into the tournament. People have been proven wrong by England at every step of this tournament. They have managed to reach the semifinals after 28 long years!
Some people believe that England had it easy, since they faced Columbia in the Round of 16 and Sweden in the quarterfinal. However, that does not take away from the excellent football that the English side has put on display. The players held their nerve in the 4-3 penalty shootout win against Columbia, and always looked like the better team in their fixture against Sweden.
After an exciting first semifinal between France and Belgium last night, England vs Croatia looks set to be a nail-biter!
Croatian midfield vs English attack
This clash will witness Croatia’s world-class midfield in battle with England’s charismatic attack. While Croatia’s ability to create chances is its greatest asset, it is the English defenders who provide the other side with an edge during offensive set-pieces.
It will be interesting to see what strategy each team adopts, because the England vs Croatia match will certainly be a tough and intense one. The midfield duo of Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic would trouble any defence in the world, while England skipper Harry Kane, even all by himself, is a striker who scares defenders across the globe.
Croatia and England have both surpassed expectations. It will be a story for the ages for one of these two underdogs in the second semifinal tonight.
Is the trophy coming home to England? Or will the Dark Horse prove to be too much for the English? Only time will tell.
My Predicted Winner: England
Croatia- Luka Modrić and Ivan Rakitić
England- Harry Kane and Dele Alli