England bask in SWC glow as Russian Federation suffers

England bask in SWC glow as Russian Federation suffers

Dalic was full of praise for the Barcelona midfielder, saying Rakitic was in career-best form heading into a last-four clash with England on Wednesday.

Team manager Stanislav Cherchesov, who guided his team into the quarter-finals, expressed his gratitude to Russian supporters and promised to deliver an even better performance at the 2020 World Cup in Qatar.

"We trusted ourselves. We could only prove our worth by working hard", Cherchesov said. I still fancy England because I think they've been the more impressive or dominant team.

It is the first time that Croatia have reached this stage of the World Cup since the golden generation of Davor Suker and Zvonimir Boban managed the feat in 1998.

England wore all-white at the last World Cup when then faced Costa Rica. Someone asked me if we are too small a country to be world champions.

Thousands of fans have gathered in Moscow to welcome back the Russian team after its narrow loss in the World Cup quarterfinals.

One more rest day on Monday before the action resumes and we get closer to finding out the World Cup 2018 finalists for Sunday's final - will England make it through?

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How they got there Croatia after winning Group D with a 100 per cent record have had to grit their way through the knockout stages with penalty shoot-out wins over Denmark and hosts Russian Federation.

Captain and top scorer Harry Kane added: "Allan does finishing sessions with us, tells us about opposition defenders, goalkeepers, and tells us maybe where we can exploit a weakness".

He was part of the team that beat England at Wembley in 2007 to deny them qualification for the following summer's European Championship and that game is still talked about.

There's an argument to be made that all four World Cup semifinalists are playing with house money.

That caution is disappointing but if there is a silver lining for Dalic, it is that his team once again showed the mental strength to win on penalties - a not inconsiderable feat in front of a partisan 44,000 crowd in Sochi. The South Americans were aggressive, intelligent and cohesive, but there were times after Raphael Varane's opening goal when France effectively held them at arm's length.

The semi-final will be played on Wednesday and it promises to be an enthralling affair. They will also need to work out how to combat England's aerial power at set-pieces. Alexander Samedov, who said earlier he would no longer play for the national team, stressed he was proud to be member of the team.

Russia, who many feared could go out at the group stage after a dismal run over the previous two years, had already surpassed expectations by reaching the last eight, ousting Spain on the way.

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