Ranking France, Belgium, Croatia, England

Annette Crawford
July 10, 2018

A few Russian journalists gathered behind the locked door, trying to record what was being uttered as the Croatians revelled in reaching the semi-finals of the World Cup at the expense of the hosts.

So where do France, Belgium, Croatia and England stand among remaining contenders?

Should England overcome Croatia on Wednesday night, it will be the country's first major tournament final in 52 years.

Keys to victory: Eden Hazard has lived up to his billing this world cup and has been the spark which has driven the Belgian attack. They turned in their best team performance at this World Cup in the quarters, and there was loads to enjoy right across the park. "There is pressure but also enjoyment of being in the World Cup semi-finals", Mandzukic said.

Get excited and embrace the moment because I think we are going to win the World Cup.

But Rush insists that it's pointless comparing England to sides they haven't faced.

On a scorching Saturday that saw England advance further in the World Cup than the home of the lovely game has since 1990 and Croatia take down a dynamo, Russian Federation was on seemingly everyone's lips yesterday - and we don't mean Robert Mueller's ongoing investigation of Donald Trump and the adjoining array of Congressional committees. "You are only as good as the opposition you face and they never looked like losing after the first goal, it was game over for Sweden".

Croatia and England have met in five competitive games in the past with Croatia winning two and England three.


But two-time European Cup victor Rush is unconcerned by the number of chances England have allowed.

Asked about potential weaknesses in the England team, Dalic, who only took over as coach in October, replied: "I wouldn't say there are any glaring weaknesses - they are in the semi-finals, that says it all". You can't underestimate how draining that is, trust me. Even when they do not, there is Jordan Pickford to make incredible saves.

Set pieces have been the main source of goals at the tournament in Russian Federation - 42 per cent, no less - and England has been the master of that department on its run to the semifinals.

This choice of personnel, along with wide players Ivan Perisic and Ante Rebic, would create a four-man front for England and could trouble their back three in transition should Modric pounce and exploit the spaces in behind Kieran Trippier and Ashley Young.

Rush believes the Manchester City forward is lacking a bit of confidence but insists that Southgate should stick with him as he might come good at the flawless time.

"Harry is just a goal machine". It's the same with (Belgium's) Kevin de Bruyne, he wasn't doing much before (scoring against) Brazil.

Both semi-finals kick off at 20:00 SA time.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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