Gareth Southgate says England face toughest World Cup test against Croatia

Gareth Southgate says England face toughest World Cup test against Croatia

Gareth Southgate says England face toughest World Cup test against Croatia

Although Croatia are the most hard opponents England will have faced in the tournament, Southgate's words suggest he will continue with his attacking formation and personnel.

Dejan Lovren insists his poor performance against Harry Kane and Tottenham Hotspur in October has no relevance ahead of Croatia's World Cup semifinal with England on Wednesday.

"For me, I know I'm ready, and I can say the same for my teammates".

"In the first period of extra-time, I felt real fatigue in my knee".

Lovren continued: "I have all respect for Harry Kane".

Ironically, Alli says he felt he did better with the less familiar tasks than with his usual forte, making penetrating runs and providing a threat in the box.

"So to score, it gives you a lift".

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In addition to having a world-class forward in Kane, England have also found a potency from set-piece situations at this tournament, with eight of their 11 goals coming from dead-ball instances.

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"But we enjoy to play against big teams, as we showed against Argentina, and have nothing to lose".

He said: "I didn't feel nervous or anything like that".

"Moscow is one of the best places I have ever been", he added.

"I think Croatia has a great mentality, a fantastic midfield player to control the game and the possession of the game".

"But he would get the ball and all of a sudden he would be at you - and past you".

Zlatko Dalic's side are more experienced.

"Of course, it's not the same if you play two 90-minute matches and two 120-minute matches, but I still believe we have had ample time to recover and we are professional enough to know who needs what with what kind of recovery".

That's a rather stressful way to win a game, both for the fans and the players, so they'll be hoping to win this one in regulation and send their squad to the finals for the first time.

England hasn't played in the semifinals of a major tournament since Southgate's penalty kick at Wembley was saved by Andreas Koepke 22 years ago, and Andrea Moeller put the next kick over David Seaman and under the crossbar. You want to hide and not come out of your room. I felt something odd in my knee and after talking with the doctor on the sideline we decided I should come off.

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