Modric reveals Croatia biggest concern ahead of England clash

Ashley Young England 03072018

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Dele Alli has also been singled out for having under-performed, but his goal and all-round energetic display against Sweden will see him keep his place in the starting XI.

It is uncharted territory for Gareth Southgate and his squad, 17 of whom were not even born when Bobby Robson's side took on West Germany in Turin on 4 July, 1990.

England needed penalties to beat Colombia in the Round of 16, but eased into the last four with a trouble-free 2-0 victory over Sweden.

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The small European country have some tidy players, including Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic and Mario Mandzukic.

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In a World Cup where set-pieces have played such a huge role and with teams becoming ever more cautious as the final approaches, that edge could prove the difference between England ending 52 years of hurt or falling at the penultimate hurdle.

To that point, we had been allowing Spain to play their game, passing the ball like we all...

England's remarkable set-play success is the fruit of extra preparation on the training ground with attacking coach Allan Russell, who has travelled with Southgate to the United States to study strategies from the National Basketball Association and NFL.

But he is certainly well aware of the threat that Croatia pose in the centre of the field.

The Three Lions have a clean bill of health going into the match against Croatia. "So we won't win the game just because Croatia had half an hour more football than us three days ago, we've got to win because we play better".

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