England dreaming but Croatia set to provide biggest SWC test

Gareth Southgate and England team

GETTYGareth Southgate says it would be'bigger than 1966 if England win the World Cup

England face Croatia at 7pm BST on Wednesday night at the Luzhniki Stadium, with the winners to meet either Belgium or France in the final on Sunday.

They beat Tunisia in their tournament opener thanks to a late Harry Kane goal, brushed aside a poor Panama, edged out Colombia on penalties and easily beat Sweden in the quarter-finals. But there is less pressure on them now.

"Gareth's sideline style has meant our waistcoats are really scoring with our customers, with sales doubling since the World Cup began", said a spokeswoman for retailer Marks & Spencer.

They had won just one knockout match at a major tournament in 16 years before coming to Russian Federation, a 1-0 victory against Ecuador at the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

There were some injury concerns over Jordan Henderson and Jordan Pickford but both have been passed fit to play.

To that point, we had been allowing Spain to play their game, passing the ball like we all...

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Real Madrid playmaker Modric, who was at Tottenham Hotspur earlier in his career at the same time a young Kane was starting out, has been a particular inspiration. It's important that we do our best on the pitch.

The Liverpool midfielder was taken off five minutes from the end of the last-eight victory over Sweden at the weekend due to a tight hamstring.

The England captain, who has not scored from open play since England's rout of Panama in their second group match, does not have the lightning speed that would expose the lack of pace in the Croatian central defence.

All eyes will be on Raheem Sterling once again.

Dier said: "He (Modric) is a great player, one of the best in the world, and whatever position or wherever he plays it doesn't make a difference to a player of that quality".

Stones, and his defensive partners Harry Maguire and Kyle Walker, will need to be on their toes for the whole game against Croatia's lone striker, particularly when the ball flies into the area from a set piece.

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