Croatia ready for England in spite of extended matches


Zlatko Dalic's side continued their fine showing in the tournament as they will be hoping to make it through to the finals and bring home the trophy.

"We keep hearing the same question and we give out the same answer", said Croatia's Ivan Perisic last week.

Twenty years ago, in France, a Croatian team featuring Davor Suker, Slaven Bilic and Zvonimir Boban made the last four of the competition only to be beaten by the hosts, and eventual winners, despite taking the lead.

Their quarter-final exit on penalties to Croatia, among the most skilled teams here, on Saturday was further proof that Russian Federation never meant to just playing along. Rakitic I haven't played against but I played against Modric twice this year in the Champions League and everyone knows what he did in the Premier League.

"Until five or six years ago I was bit vain, and in a way glad that in 1998 we set the bar so high that it was hard to even contemplate, let alone jump over it".

"England s players have guaranteed they will return from the World Cup as heroes".

This was quickly followed up with a 3-1 win over Egypt and Cherchesov's team punching their ticket for the Round of 16.

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"They have a very serious national team".

Cherchesov then devised a clever game plan to counter Spain's passing game, which allowed Russian Federation to eventually squeeze past the 2010 world champions and into the last eight.

The 32-year-old was a little lucky with his spot kick which went in off goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev's hand and the left post.

They handed them possession and despite playing four times fewer passes than Spain's 1,137 over 120 minutes, they successfully shut them out of their box.

The match had ended 2-2 after extra-time after Mario Fernandes' late equalizer for Sbornaya. The die-hard football fanatic had earlier met the (former) Argentinan team in the United States, former French great Robert Pires, Brazilian footballer Kaka and he feels blessed.

Yes, Croatia may have one of the best individual players in the tournament with what Luka Modric has done in matching the deepest run ever by the country. Numerous Croatia players said arriving in Sochi immediately after the round of 16 win over Denmark was a major benefit, but now are facing a rapid recovery. "But thank God we've shown our character".

The reward for eliminating the hosts is a glamorous tie against England in Moscow on Wednesday and Dalic believes his team is well equipped to stop Harry Kane.