‘WaistcoatWednesday’: England fans don waistcoats ahead of semi-final against Croatia

‘WaistcoatWednesday’: England fans don waistcoats ahead of semi-final against Croatia

Southgate added: "I think Raheem has been fundamental to the way that we have played - his movement, the positions he takes up, his pressing of the ball, his work-rate for the team, the winning of free kicks and corners, his speed to stretch teams".

"But the feel of this group of players is very similar to the player we had [in 1996]".

Strong, mobile, indefatigable and good in the air, Mandzukic looks to make life as hard as possible for the defence, stretching play to allow the likes of Modric the space they need to get into the danger zone around the box.

It's not just the fans back home who are enjoying England's historic run to the last four; the players and staff are equally exuberant. The center-back will be key to limiting England's threat from set pieces and will be a useful weapon in the opposition box, too.

'We have every player available so that is huge credit to our players for the way they've committed to the physical programmes we've done, ' he told the media on the eve of the match.

England have not won a major trophy since the World Cup in 1966 and have only reached two semifinals since: in 1990 and at Euro '96, when Southgate became a poster boy for the tournament for the wrong reason after missing the decisive penalty in the shoot-out defeat against Germany.

The contribution of Raheem Sterling remains a polarising debate in England with the Manchester City forward without a goal for his country since October, 2015 but Southgate says his contribution in Russian Federation has been essential.

Tropical Storm Beryl disintegrates as it zips to Caribbean
Virgin Islands will experience heavy rainfall and gusty winds associated with Beryl's remnants today, according to the NHC. Although the storm could briefly become a hurricane, it should fall apart by the time it reaches the Lesser Antilles.

"But that team [in 1996] was a lot more experienced in terms of its age and experience of big matches". That is what these guys have done.

Croatia are a challenge for England.

They had to go through extra time and penalties in both knockout matches against Denmark and Russian Federation but emerged successful in the end to reach the semifinals.

Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson is one of just five players remaining from the England squad that crashed out of the group stage four years ago in Brazil. "I feel they're a fantastic team, working for each other and together, which is why they're in a semifinal of a World Cup".

"Health has to be number one, but to play for the Croatian team, to play in the World Cup semi-final, I do not need to even say that I will be giving it 300% to be fit". "Hopefully we'll go out there and implement our plan".

England forward Harry Kane, who tops the World Cup scorers' list in Russian Federation with six goals, is level with former striker Gary Lineker for most goals scored by an England player at one World Cup.

"I was not a renowned fashion icon through my playing career so it's rather odd to be one now", Southgate joked. Many supporters are viewing this match as England's chance of revenge. - 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.

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