England Are Ready For Croatia
England are counting down the hours until their first semi-final in 28 years, and Southgate is confident his team is ready.
“We have every player available. We have almost had every player fit for every training session, “ said coach Gareth Southgate.
“We know that Croatia like to build possession. They have exciting wingers that like to get in behind you. They are also dangerous from crosses.”
“I will speak to the forwards and tell them what I think, but Dejan Lovren is a fantastic defender,” added Jordan Henderson. “He has had his critics, but he has done so well over the last six months. He has everything a centre-half needs and he is a real leader.”
The team head to training at the local ground closest to them Luzhniki Stadium to walk through their set-piece routine once more before the match tonight, with a special focus on how to operate in defensive situations.
Croatia and Juventus striker Marko Mandzukic has been identified as a particular threat from Croatia’s dead-ball opportunities, as well as Modric and Rakitic with respect to controlling the game down in midfield, but if England play anything near what they have done this tournament, they will be able to scrape through.
Southgate is expected to stick with the starting XI that saw off Sweden in the quarter-finals, with Jordan Henderson holding in midfield behind Dele Alli and Jesse Lingard, and Raheem Sterling partnering Harry Kane up front.
Croatia to qualify 2.40
England to qualify 1.57
*Odds are subject to change