England vs Croatia preview – Will the Three Lions book their place in the final?

9th Jul 2018

England face Croatia in the World Cup semi-finals on Wednesday night aiming to cement their place in the history books.

Gareth Southgate's side have seen off Colombia and Sweden to get this far and the nation is firmly behind the Three Lions.

That has not always been the case in recent years and there is a feeling among fans that there is something different about this summer.

Croatia are a dangerous team, with a sprinkling of world-class talent, but England will never have a better opportunity to secure a place in the final.

Harry Kane and Co will be determined not to let the chance slip through their fingers.

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Manager's thoughts

Gareth Southgate: “We’re not the finished article," he said.

"We don’t have renowned world-class players yet, but good young players who are showing on a world stage that they can be brave with the ball."

Zlatko Dalić: "There is some power left for the English,” he insisted.

“We do not want to stop, we will try to play our best game. We have two matches to play and we are very motivated."

Team news

Jordan Henderson is a fitness concern, due to a hamstring problem.

It is not clear whether the Liverpool man will be fit enough to start, with Eric Dier waiting in the wings.

Jamie Vardy is also a doubt, but Southgate is not expected to make significant changes.

Marcus Rashford, Danny Rose and Ruben Loftus-Cheek are all pushing for starting berths.

Defender Sime Vrsaljko has been ruled out with a knee problem he picked up in the victory over Russia.

That means veteran Vedran Corluka is set to start and England will look to expose his lack of pace.

Domagoj Vida has avoided a ban for appearing to dedicate the quarter-final victory to Ukraine.

Betting tips and predictions

First goalscorer:

As always, it is extremely difficult to look beyond Kane. The Spurs striker had Dejan Lovren on toast in the Premier League last season and only needs one chance to make his mark.

Kane to score first @ 33/10

Bet with your heart:

England have enough in their locker to dominate Croatia and, if they get their noses in front early, it could be comfortable.

England to win 2-0 @ 17/2

Bet with your head:

The third World Cup semi-final England have ever played in is unlikely to be plain sailing.

Croatia have a goal in them and things may well go down to the wire.

England to win in extra-time @ 9/1

Looking for more tips? Head over to our dedicated tips page!

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