[World Cup Roundup] France, Belgium, England, Croatia Secure Semi-final Spots

Zlatko Dalic with his captain Luka Modric

CROATIA is going nuts about their team's appearance in the World Cup semi-finals - but one group of fans had particular reason to celebrate during their penalty shootout win over Russian Federation. England gained a thumping two-goal victory which puts them in a good position to make it all the way to the final. "We have been watching England in all their games. They are confident and have a young team".

Croatia could have defender Sime Vrsaljko back in the thick of things when they take on England in their 2018 World Cup semi-final tie on Wednesday night. By no means are they assured a spot, as world No. 7 France, who oddsmakers are favouring, stand in their way.

Les Blue will meet the victor of the second semifinal between Croatia and England in the final in Moscow on Sunday. They then edged out Denmark and hosts Russian Federation on penalties in the knockout stages to set up a semi-final with England.

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Robson, who died of cancer in 2009, saw his dream of emulating the 1966 World Cup-winning team end with a penalty shootout defeat by eventual champions Germany in 1990.

To top it off, the most important games are yet to be played.

He still wears the same shin pads he had as an 11-year-old, despite at one stage losing them for six months, and has a series of rituals he performs ahead of every game.

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With the boys in Russian Federation through to the semi-finals of the World Cup, football is on everyone's minds.

The coach of the 1998 side, Jaroslav Ciro Blazevic, said for a long time he did not want any other team to match his players' achievements. I have never done that, even in training. It was a match at the highest level played with undeniable quality. "We don't fear England".

But his reputation took a battering at home before the tournament due to his implication in the multi-million-euro corruption trial of former Dinamo Zagreb chief Zdravko Mamic. They need to press the ball quickly and force them to play square or backwards.

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The biggest question mark now surrounds the fitness of a team who have gone the full distance in their last two matches and had several players struggling with injuries against Russian Federation.

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