Croatia and England are the two teams who will fight to play against France in the big World Cup final on Sunday.
Before this tournament, a few would have guessed that these two countries would play for a spot in the final. However, Spain, Argentina, Germany, Brazil are all out of the World Cup and these two really deserved to be where they are.
Croatia are going to play the second World Cup semifinal in their history as an independent country. In 1998 only Lilian Thuram stopped them from being in the final. Actually, Thuram has scored the only two goals in his international career in that semifinal. That should tell you how close Croatia were to play against Brazil in the final of the World Cup in 1998.
On the other side, England are going to play their third semifinal. Even though, they have constantly participated in this competition and have had great generations in the recent years, this is the first semifinal for them since 1990. Beckham, Gerrard, Lampard, Rooney, Owen and the others didn’t play a single semifinal.
These two teams have faced each other several times. Some of them are truly historic. Namely, Croatia has eliminated England from the 2008 European Championship. These two teams played in the qualifiers and Croatia won against England in the decisive match for the qualification.
However, England had their revenge in the next qualifications. Theo Walcott scored a hat-trick to deny Croatia’s chances to qualify to the World Cup 2010.
Croatia: Subasic; Vrsaljko, Lovren, Vida, Strinic; Brozovic, Rakitic, Modric, Perisic, Rebic; Mandzukic.
England: Pickford; Walker, Stones, Maguire; Trippier, Henderson, Alli, Lingard, Young; Sterling, Kane.
Both teams don’t have problems with yellow cards. The only doubt was in Croatia’s national team. The Atletico Madrid right back Vrsaljko has had problems with an injury after the game against Russia.
However, according to the Croatian media, he is ready and will play from the start. Immediately after the news about him playing from the start came out, it was said that Ante Rebic is doubtful. Ante Rebic is reportedly feeling pain on his neck. If he cannot play tonight, Andrej Kramaric will be his replacement.
The England manager Gareth Southgate will probably not change anything in his starting 11, as these guys have played great throughout the tournament.
Looking at both teams’ lineups, it is very clear that Croatia have the better midfield. But, these guys have played two 120 minutes’ games in a row. England, on the other side, have easily won against Sweden a few days ago. This is a chance for both teams to reach the historic final. Croatia would play for the first time in a World Cup final and England for the first time since 1966.
Will football come home? Or will Croatia be the brand-new finalist? We will find out tonight in a game that guarantees a spectacle.
Croatia to play in the final against France