When both teams file out this evening for the second semi-final game of the Russia 2018 FIFA world cup, The Croatian and English players will be playing the most important games in their lives as both have a real chance at altering history to their favour.
England and Croatia have had very impressive journeys leading to their semifinal appearance with Croatia topping their Group D. This Croatian “golden generation” has definitely clicked at this tournament having survived two daunting tasks that saw them beat Denmark and Russia on penalties to make the semi-finals.
England on their part is having their best run in the modern era – They’ve had some sort of renaissance of their own in Russia under the guidance of Gareth Southgate, qualifying for the last four for the first time since 1990 and are playing with an undeniable flair.
Croatia is participating in the competition for the fifth time in their history and reached the semifinals during their first appearance in 1998. Twenty years later, they have another chance to make history and qualify for the finals and potentially win the tournament. They have a closely knitted team built around star players Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic and Mario Mandžukić, whose combined abilities make the Croatian Midfield one of the most solid in the tournament.
England captain Harry Kane will be looking to lead his team to their second world cup finals in their history. The only time they had appeared was in 1966 where they also emerged victoriously and this time, they hope they can ‘bring home football’. Kane will also have a chance to add to his goals tally of 6 and consolidate his lead as the highest goals scorer in the competition.
Head to head, both sides have met six times in total with England holding a slight edge, having emerged victorious three times and drawing once. The last time both teams clashed was during the 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign where the Three Lions pummelled Croatians 5-1.
Whatever happens today at the Luzhniki stadium, each of these sides will be celebrating a very important milestone in their football history.
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