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Everything you need to know about Croatia ahead of the semi-final clash

Croatia knocked out the hosts Russia 4-3 on penalties.

England will face off against Croatia on Wednesday for a place in the World Cup final.

The Three Lions overcame Sweden 2-0 with goals from Harry Maguire and Dele Alli to book a date at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, while Croatia knocked out the hosts Russia 4-3 on penalties.

Here are some facts about Croatia:

– Croatia declared independence from Yugoslavia on June 25 1991. Only nine of England’s World Cup squad were alive to see this happen, while Croatian striker Andrej Kramaric was born six days before the declaration.

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Andrej Kramaric in action (Darko Bandic/AP)

– The country has an estimated population of 4,154,200 – about the same as the Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire areas combined – making it the 129th most populous country in the world.

– It became the 28th, and the newest, member of the European Union on July 1, 2013.

– Dubrovnik, in southern Croatia, appeared on the small screen as King’s Landing in Game Of Thrones, as did Split on the Dalmatian Coast.

– Croatia is widely credited with inventing the necktie, and International Necktie Day is celebrated on October 18.

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A Croatia fan in the famous check colours (AP)

– The origins of the red and white checkerboard pattern – or chequy – associated with Croatia are unclear, with one urban legend suggesting it comes from King Drzislav playing chess to secure his freedom after being captured by Venetian doge Peter II Orseolo.

– Hvar is widely reported to be the sunniest place in Croatia with 2,760 hours of sunshine a year – higher than England’s top spot of West Sussex with 1,902 hours annually.

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