Winners of England vs Croatia will be 'unofficial world champions'

Kyle Walker was forced to pass through the “forfeit tunnel” that is part of England’s training routine

Kyle Walker was forced to pass through the “forfeit tunnel” that is part of England’s training routineTHE FA REX SHUTTERSTOCK

Southgate was so demoralized by his penalty kick failure against Germany in the 1996 European Championship semifinals, he avoided The Lightning Seeds's "Three Lions, " the team's official song when it hosted the tournament. That though is more recently than England.

England and Croatia's national soccer teams will battle Wednesday for the right to face France in the 2018 World Cup final soccer game. "But it's nice to hear people enjoying it again". A lovely header by Harry Maguire in the first half was all they needed to win. A 1998 update changed the third verse to "no more years of hurt".

The contribution of Raheem Sterling remains a polarising debate in England, with the Manchester City player without a goal for his country since October 2015, but Southgate says the forward's contribution in Russian Federation has been essential.

Cüneyt Çakır has managed a World Cup semi-final before, officiating the 2013 match between Netherlands and Argentina.

He could have scored even more goals if he had been given the kind of quality supply he gets from Christian Eriksen and the wide players at Spurs, but Jesse Lingard, Raheem Sterling and Dele Alli have all come up short in my eyes.

The victor Wednesday advances to Sunday's final against France.

Zlatko Dalic says Croatia's World Cup progress is no surprise
With Modric and Rakitic controlling the midfield, Croatia have had more possession than their opposition in four of five games at the World Cup.

Southgate said he was convinced that win or lose on Wednesday, his team have a bright future after decades of English under-achievement on the global stage.

Lovren has featured in all five of Croatia's World Cup games so far and played the entirely of the team's two knockout fixtures with Denmark and Russian Federation that went to a penalty shootout after 120 minutes of play.

The Three Lions are just one game away from their first final since 1966, with Croatia standing between them and a showpiece against France, who beat Belgium 1-0 this morning in the first semi-final. First quarter-final win for longer. "We'll repeat that this Sunday", said one supporter, Sebastien.

England: "Probably 18 months ago I talked to them about if you have success with England, it will be so much bigger than anything you can imagine, and I think that is probably starting to register with them now".

"But any team in a World Cup semi-final is going to find the energy and going to find the motivation". "The age of the players, the improvement in the players, the hunger in the players has been apparent for everybody to see".

"We want to continue in the same style that we have been playing until now", he said. It's completely irrelevant, that 4-1 defeat. "Why didn't you ask me how I played well against him? You're just nit-picking in terms of my performances".

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