Croatia search for missing sparks ahead of England clash

Will Harry Kane lead England to World Cup glory

Will Harry Kane lead England to World Cup glory

"I was thrilled! I walked up to ask him for a photograph, and we looked around for someone to take a nice long shot, but at that moment, no one was around, so I stood perplexed and my helplessness showed as Luka graciously offered, 'Let me take it, ' and he went onto to click a few selfies as I stood unable to move, totally dumbstruck".

That mattered little though for battling coach Stanislav Cherchesov who assembled a team that defied all forecasts and made the home nation proud.

"We have some margin to get even better", 1France coach Didier Deschamps, the 1998 World Cup-winning captain, said.

In Belgium, the likes of Jean-Marie Pfaff, Jan Ceulemans, Franky Vercauteren, Enzo Scifo and Eric Gerets bring back memories of the Red Devils' one and only last four appearance, in Mexico 1986.

In this picture, Modric of Croatia celebrates following their side's victory during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Quarter Final match between Russia and Croatia at Fisht Stadium in Sochi, Russia on July 7, 2018.

"I can't tell you their gameplan or tactics - but I know our gameplan".

The Real Madrid midfielder, 33 in September, has been instrumental in Croatia's journey to the World Cup semi-finals this past month, where on Wednesday they meet England in Moscow.

"Until five or six years ago I was bit vain, and in a way glad that in 1998 we set the bar so high that it was hard to even contemplate, let alone jump over it. Brazil are a top team, like England, they have a similar style in some ways in terms of attacking football".

SAMARA, Russia (AP) - England achieved something David Beckham's generation never managed: It reached the semifinals of the World Cup. Igor Akinfeev later blocked an attempt from Mateo Kovacic.

Croatia became only the second team to win successive penalty shootouts at the World Cup, following in the footsteps of Argentina in 1990, when they overcame Russian Federation 4-3 on Saturday to follow up their win over Denmark in the previous round.

Two years ago they were knocked out of Euro 2016 after conceding a late goal in extra-time against Portugal.

President Vladimir Putin did not attend the game, but watched remotely, saying the players were heroes despite the defeat and the country was proud of them.

The playmaker, who won a third successive Champions League title with Real Madrid before coming to Russian Federation, brushed off suggestions that his performance might put him in the running for the Ballon d'Or prize as the world's best player. The die-hard football fanatic had earlier met the (former) Argentinan team in the U.S., former French great Robert Pires, Brazilian footballer Kaka and he feels blessed. "I believe the backbone of the team will stay".

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