Follow the World Cup semifinal between England and Croatia

Rex Christensen
July 12, 2018

The match was a fascinating tactical battle, with France content to surrender possession and looking to use Kylian Mbappe's pace to hurt Belgium on the counter-attack. He's broken out over the last 12 months, especially at the World Cup.

"I'm very proud of their mentality as well because I know it's not just that you are playing at a high level that you are going to score goals but with our state of mind we can climb mountains and that's what we've done so far".

They're young, they're brash and they're collectively worth a billion dollars.

It was viewed by many observers as a breakout display at Russian Federation 2018 for the Manchester City star, but Martinez feels his efforts when stationed deeper alongside Witsel during Belgium's earlier games were also pivotal.

Umtiti was also looking to exorcise the ghosts of Euro 2016. We had the chance to win the final of the Euros, but we missed a wonderful thing and we must not let this chance pass.

However, his exploits at this summer's World Cup in Russian Federation, including scoring the decisive second goal in the Three Lions' 2-0 quarter-final triumph over Sweden, have seen his stock rise even further.

"They're like me - this is the most relaxed we have been, but England is obviously the first choice". It's a tough one but I've got to go with my roots and support the Croatian boys.

Steven Gerrard says England will beat Croatia and are a 'dangerous' team
He was that bad and confirmed the doubts so many of us had expressed about him prior to that woeful performance. Now, this is a massive day for the English team, it's their first World Cup semi-final in 28 years.

"Me and Danny have a joke about it because I asked him for his shirt (laughing)", he said (via the Mirror). If people want to behave appallingly we can not stop them. "We must take advantage of it now". We will give this final match everything.

"Whether we win or lose, we're creating history", he said. "It was an important step and we hope to be celebrating on Sunday - it is fantastic".

NPR's sports correspondent Tom Goldman says today's match is being played against a political backdrop. "It was hard to take two years ago, and we do not want a repeat of that".

"Rami's moustache brought good luck", he said.

In-fact, 72% of England's goals have come from set-pieces.

A win for England would help erase World Cup futility.

I can improve and get better and better.

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