With France through to the 2018 FIFA World Cup Final, attention now turns to second semi-final as Croatia meets England to decide who will join them in the final. 

As England fans get pumped up, is Football coming home or will Croatia produce a shock cupset?

Team news

 

Sime.jpg

(Getty Images)

 

Croatia are without Right Back, Sime Vrsaljko after he picked up a knee injury in the Quarter Final win over Russia.

They could also be without Danijel Subasic after the keeper sustained a hamstring problem last time out. 

Defender, Domagoj Vida meanwhile is facing suspension after inappropriate behaviour.

England have a full squad available after Jamie Vardy overcame a groin injury that kept him out of Saturday’s win over Sweden.  

 

Form

Having won all three of their group games, Croatia entered the knockouts in fine form but have laboured to consecutive draws before scraping through via penalties. 

Excluding penalties, they have scored 10 goals so far this tournament despite conceding four goals in last three games. 

England meanwhile have lost once en route to this stage, albeit that defeat was beneficial in setting them off on this easier knockouts path. 

Saturday’s win was in fact their first clean sheet of the tournament, having conceded once in their first four games. 

 

Stat Attack

  • In seven previous meetings, England have taken four wins to Croatia’s two with one draw.
  • One of England’s wins came in the only major tournament meeting between these sides, at Euro 2004 when the Three Lions won 4-2 in final group game. 
  • The last time England made a World Cup semi-final, they had a female Prime Minister with the initials M.T. Now they’re in same situation with the Prime Minister’s initials reversed (T.M).
  • England have scored five headed goals so far this tournament, which is the best total number of goals via header since Germany in 2002 (8). 
  • Croatia became the second team to reach semi-finals via two penalty shootouts. Argentina were the first in 1990 and they went on to finish as runners-up.

 

Prediction

With Croatia currently facing a defensive crisis, it would be easy to say an England win but this is a country who knows how to blow away chances in just about any sport. 

There are all sort of omens for either side however indirect they may be so we could be in for quite a battle but you have to wonder how fatigued Croatia will be if extra time is needed for third consecutive match. 

Although Croatia have that penalties omen in their favour, I am going to say that lightning won’t strike twice in that aspect. 

Prediction: Croatia 1-2 England

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