Gareth Southgate says England players ‘nowhere near level they’ll be capable of’

Ivan Rakitic and Luka Modric will provide a tough test for England on Wednesday

Southgate, who was in the last England side that reached the semifinal of their last major tournament (Euro 1996), has carried a young and vibrant team to Russian Federation but worked his charm with the players ahead of the World Cup.

Ahead of England's game against Croatia in the World Cup semi-finals, Eric Dier has insisted that Luka Modric is one the top players of the tournament. - Croatia scored two headers in its last match against Russian Federation - only one of its previous 29 World Cup goals was scored via a header. "The higher the level of opponent, if you press in a disorganized fashion, then you will get picked through and we have got to be conscious of that", he said.

Perhaps even more significantly, most of the team have been together for a decade but are peaking now and brimming with motivation for their first semi-final since 1998.

"England have great players - they are a fantastic team", he added.

Southgate's plan has worked so far, so much so that an influx of England fans is anticipated in Moscow on Wednesday - many of them have bought into "Waistcoat Wednesday" in tribute to Southgate's World Cup outfit. However, their two knockout-stage games have gone to penalties.

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Earlier efforts to pump out water from the cave have been set back every time there has been a heavy downpour. A major concern of the rescuers is that oxygen levels in their safe space could fall dangerously low.

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

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Juventus striker Mandzukic is Croatia's main goal threat and although he has only scored once in Russian Federation, his game is about a lot more than just finding the net.

Despite strolling to their 2-0 win over Sweden in the quarter-finals, England were pegged back late on against Colombia to take their round-of-16 tie into extra-time and penalties.

On the other side of the fence, Mosman Park's Western Knights Soccer Club are equally fired up to watch Croatia in action. - Eight of England's 11 goals at the 2018 World Cup have been scored via set pieces - since 1966, the only team to equal that number in a single World Cup tournament are Portugal in 1966 (also eight goals).

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"I've played against Modric a few times: he's a world-class player, one of the best I've played against".

"Hopefully he'll have a quiet game tomorrow and we'll do our best to keep him quiet".

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.

Monaco goalkeeper Subasic saved three penalties in Croatia's shootout win over Denmark in the round of 16, and another in the quarter-finals as the Vatreni dramatically ousted hosts Russian Federation on penalties.

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Giroud said his teammates knew Belgium very well with many players from both teams competing in the English Premier League, including himself.

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