England vs Croatia: Southgate hopes England avoid semi-final stage fright

Ashley Young England 03072018

"We are just going to stick with what we have been doing all the way through".

The Three Lions' only global title is the 1966 World Cup victory on home soil. I find it impossible how Croatia can play back-to-back extra time and penalties, and then come again.

"As a team we are not focusing on individuals which is the most important thing". England have to be patient, and don't want to get into a gung-ho football match.

- England has not beaten two European nations in a single World Cup since 1982, when it beat Czechoslovakia and France.

An iconic mid-noughties image of England in transition, Steve McClaren's side lost 3-2 at home to Croatia on a rainy night at Wembley, and failed to qualify for Euro 2008.

Modric has been Croatia's key component in Russian Federation this summer with his two goals making him the top scorer, as well as completing more minutes than any other Croatian player with 485.

England manager Gareth Southgate and Harry Kane celebrate their entry into FIFA World Cup 2018 semifinals. Their first encounter, in 1996, ended in a goalless draw.

- Mario Mandzukic assisted Andrej Kramaric's goal against Russian Federation in the quarterfinal - he has been involved in four goals at the World Cup finals for Croatia (3 goals, 1 assist), with only Davor Suker involved in more (6).

Operating in tandem with Barcelona's Ivan Rakitic, Modric will be out to dominate central midfield and build a platform to allow him to link with his forwards, or embark on a foray or two of his own into the box. Croatia's midfield control depends on the exceptional balancing act done by Luka Modric and Rakitic, and Henderson is the only player at Gareth Southgate's disposal who is well-equipped to disrupt that rhythm.

"He was a constant threat to Sweden, of course he hasn't scored the goals he would have liked to have scored but for myself and the players he has been a crucial part of the way that we have been playing", he said.

However, Kane's partner in attack, Raheem Sterling, has pace to burn and England's totem will be on hand to benefit if that causes problems for the Croatians.

Modric started that match at Wembley and remains integral to Croatia's game 11 years later, the captain having been widely hailed as one of the best players at the finals in Russian Federation. The forward has come in for criticism on social media during the tournament and the same was the case against Sweden after some missed opportunities.

Monaco goalkeeper Subasic saved three penalties in Croatia's shootout win over Denmark in the round of 16, and another in the quarter-finals as the Vatreni dramatically ousted hosts Russian Federation on penalties.