World Cup: The key battles to look out for in England’s semi-final against Croatia
The last-four clash takes place on Wednesday night.
England face Croatia in the World Cup semi-finals on Wednesday.
Here, Press Association Sport looks at some potential key battles ahead of the game in Moscow.
Dejan Lovren v Harry Kane
Moment of the Day 👀— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) June 18, 2018
When @England’s Harry Kane netted an injury-time winner on his #WorldCup debut 💪
🎥 Highlights 👉 https://t.co/LOdKDX2Cwn
👀 TV listings 👉 https://t.co/xliHcxWvEO pic.twitter.com/wafiZ8XmEz
Croatia’s defence is considered their weak link with neither Lovren nor centre-back partner Domagoj Vida boasting great pace. Lovren, who has struggled against Kane in the Premier League in the past, faces a tough challenge to contain England’s prime striker. Kane is the tournament’s top scorer so far with six goals.
Ivan Rakitic v Jordan Henderson
Further up the field, Croatia are blessed with a number of talented ball-playing midfielders. Rakitic is among the finest in the game, although he has played more of a withdrawn role in this tournament while Modric has attacked. Henderson, the preferred anchor in Gareth Southgate’s side, will attempt to negate his impact.
Luka Modric v Dele Alli
Real Madrid playmaker Modric has excelled at times in Russia, both on the ball and in terms of his leadership qualities. His exact role can be variable – he could spray passes from midfield or be pushed forward to operate in support of main striker Mario Mandzukic. Alli has his own attacking inclinations but there could be onus on him to drop back to prevent Modric taking a firm grip.
Mario Mandzukic v Harry Maguire
Mandzukic is Croatia’s chief threat in front of goal and has operated both as a lone striker and as one of a pair, with Andrej Kramaric, in this tournament. His prime attributes are his strength and aerial power and England will want Maguire, their strongest defender in the air, up against him as the crosses come in.