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England's squad all train ahead of World Cup semi-final against Croatia

11 July 2018

Neither team came to Russian Federation being heralded as favourites but they have produced performances throughout the competition which have shown they were underestimated by the pundits.

So impressive in the centre of the park for Croatia has Modric been, that he is now one of the favourites to win the Golden Ball, but the experienced midfielder insists he is only focused on his teams success.

In their quarter-final clash with Russia, the Croats showed a different side, being willing to slug it out with the Russians for 120 minutes before keeping their cool and winning the shootout in such a partisan atmosphere.

He said: "The feel of this group of players is very similar to the players we had then". The more big games we're involved in, the more pressure situations they're involved in and emerge from successful, the more belief it will build.

Excitement has reached fever-pitch levels back in England, with Gareth Southgate's young team making it to the last four of a major tournament for the first time since Euro '96, and for the first time at a World Cup since Italy in 1990. Kane was quiet in the victory over Sweden, but the Spurs striker will be looking to add a goal to his tally to fire the Three Lions to World Cup glory.

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On the other side of the fence, Mosman Park's Western Knights Soccer Club are equally fired up to watch Croatia in action. They lost to hosts and eventual winners France. They are unbeaten so far in the tournament. Though the defences are tighter at the tournament, goals seem likely.

"I think he has been one of the outstanding performers so far in this World Cup". After winning Group D, Croatia beat Denmark and Russian Federation in penalty kicks to get to this point, while England knocked out Colombia in the round of 16 in penalties before taking down Sweden in the quarterfinals.

"But any team in a World Cup semi-final is going to find the energy and going to find the motivation".

England have already won a shootout in Russian Federation, against Colombia in the last 16. They may have been forced to overcome Denmark and Russian Federation with penalty shoot-outs, but they cruised through their group with a 100 percent record and possess world-class stars such as Modric and Ivan Rakitic.

Real Madrid playmaker Modric, who was at Tottenham Hotspur earlier in his career at the same time a young Kane was starting out, has been a particular inspiration. Hopefully he has a quiet night [on Wednesday] and we'll try our best to make sure that happens. - Harry Kane has scored on six of the seven days of the week for England, with Wednesday the exception.

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"We're really proud in the style that we've played, with the intelligence that we've played, and that we've performed under pressure and dealt with hard situations in games where we've had to wait until the last minute to score, we've had to recover from conceding in last minute, we've been through extra time, penalties".

"Health has to be number one, but to play for the Croatian team, to play in the World Cup semi-final, I do not need to even say that I will be giving it 300% to be fit".

As for England, they breezed past Sweden 2-0 to seal their first World Cup semi-final appearance since Italia 90.

The captain was the man of the match again in the penalty shootout win over Russian Federation in Sochi at the weekend.

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England's squad all train ahead of World Cup semi-final against Croatia