Southgate in no mood to change England's winning formula

Grant SmithJul 11, 2018

Croatia topped their World Cup group in Russian Federation with three wins out of three games, scoring seven goals and conceding just one.

England have already won a shootout in Russian Federation, against Colombia in the last 16. I felt something odd in my knee and after talking with the doctor on the sideline we decided I should come off.

"We have made several pieces of history in the tournament and we're just looking to keep breaking those barriers down". They were completely out on their feet late against Russian Federation.

"As a team we are not focusing on individuals which is the most important thing".

Their one defeat came against Belgium in their final group game, in a match between two essentially reserve sides.

Southgate, who was in the last England side that reached the semifinal of their last major tournament (Euro 1996), has carried a young and vibrant team to Russian Federation but worked his charm with the players ahead of the World Cup.

In Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic, Croatia boast two of the finest midfielders in world football, a fact not lost on fellow schemer Henderson.

Monaco goalkeeper Subasic saved three penalties in Croatia's shootout win over Denmark in the round of 16, and another in the quarter-finals as the Vatreni dramatically ousted hosts Russian Federation on penalties.

Croatia: Coming out of the group stage, few teams looked stronger than Croatia.

For a country with a population of little more than four million, making it all the way to the final would be a remarkable achievement.

"It's a huge test for us but we're in the semi-final of a World Cup, we wouldn't expect it to be any different". But there is less pressure on them now.

Despite a comfortable run through their group, Croatia has had a tougher ride in the knockout rounds, needing extra time and penalties to eliminate both Denmark in the round of 16 and then hosts Russian Federation in the last four.

Per the Mirror's David McDonnell, Dejan Lovren and Danijel Subasic are doubts for Croatia, but full-back Sime Vrsaljko has been ruled out, according to Robert Cottingham of MailOnline.

Southgate's plan has worked so far, so much so that an influx of England fans is anticipated in Moscow on Wednesday - many of them have bought into "Waistcoat Wednesday" in tribute to Southgate's World Cup outfit.

Kieran Trippier has created 13 chances at the 2018 World Cup, more than any other defender at the tournament, and, if he can continue that form here, he may just provide Harry Kane with the bullets that fire England into their first World Cup final since 1966. "We have dealt with hard situations in games".

While Croatian players, who have been asked constantly about the generation of 1998 and never fail to express their admiration for the likes of Zvonimir Boban and Davor Suker, those comparisons are a weight they feel is unneeded.

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