Russian fans sad but proud after World Cup exit

by Abel Hampton July 9, 2018, 15:10
Russian fans sad but proud after World Cup exit

"We were together. You were the 12th, 13th, 15th and 16th player", he said and promised that the team would demonstrate better results at the next World Cup in Qatar, although it would be hard without such support.

That little tease drew a predictable reaction from the journalists in attendance but Modric was more forthcoming about a couple of matters that stand to shape the semi-final - England's set-piece prowess and the respective levels of fatigue. If there is no victor after 120 minutes the tie is decided on penalties.

Subasic's four shootout saves are tied with Harald Schumacher of West Germany and Sergio Goygochea of Argentina for the most in a single World Cup. England's Harry Kane leads all scorers with six goals in Russian Federation. "We didn't play well in the first half, we didn't control the game as we wanted".

Gareth Southgate's side's potency from set-pieces was certainly on the minds of Croatia after they were forced into penalties by Russian Federation.

Counting injury time, Croatia will have played the equivalent of roughly four matches in 11 days by the end of its semifinal against England - even if it doesn't go to extra time again.

"I think Raheem Sterling is an important player because he is really fast and his combination with Harry Kane is really risky".

"We have to pay attention to those details and hopefully we'll do better than we did against Russian Federation in that way".

When he recovered late in the season, Winks was not the same player and England were right to leave him at home due to lack of match fitness and sharpness.

The players, who suffered a heartbreaking quarter-final defeat on Saturday, unfurled a huge banner reading "We are playing for you" in a tribute to their devoted fans and their passionate support during the tournament. But it's a semi-final. Against Russia the introduction of Marcelo Brozovic in holding midfield gave him the chance to push further forward and it was from that position that he started to dominate.

Going up against Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic will be a serious test for Jordan Henderson and Dele Alli.

What has shone through from the Croatia camp is how much relish there is for the meeting with England.

"We want to enjoy this victory and not put more pressure on ourselves with what happened in 1998 - what they did was impressive but we want to keep writing our own history and enjoy what we are doing which is very positive".

In his way will be Liverpool's Dejan Lovren, enjoying a quietly excellent World Cup at the heart of the Croatia back line. "Hopefully it will be like Wembley in 2007, when we won 3-2!"

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