Lovren ready for Kane test at World Cup

Lovren ready for Kane test at World Cup

"We were not certain what this team might be capable of", Southgate admitted to ITV, mindful of England's many recent failures.

England takes on Croatia on Wednesday in the second World Cup semifinal, with the victor advancing to Sunday's big game against France. It will be another very tough match for us, a great challenge. As we regroup, he turns to me and says, "right that's enough, time to lift the tempo, let's get about them".

Midfielder Ivan Rakitic thinks the spirit that carried the team through those tense knockout matches will stand it in good stead against England, which is hoping to beat two European nations at a World Cup for the first time since 1982.

Dividing lines have been drawn among Perth soccer fans as England's and Croatia's World Cup campaigns collide.

Despite a comfortable run through their group, Croatia has had a tougher ride in the knockout rounds, needing extra time and penalties to eliminate both Denmark in the round of 16 and then hosts Russian Federation in the last four.

With 14 goals in his last 11 games for England, Kane will not be short of confidence as he searches for his seventh World Cup goal, which would be the most scored by anyone at a single tournament since Ronaldo in 2002.

After making history with England's first-ever penalty-shootout win at a World Cup against Colombia, the Three Lions did what many of their predecessors would have failed to do-get through a quarter-final against a team of Sweden's calibre in relative comfort.

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.

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"We have strength and we're united on the pitch", the Barcelona star told FIFA TV.

As reported by ESPN FC on Monday, the inflatable unicorn races in the swimming pool at England's Repino base, as well as the Fortnite competitions, darts and 10-pin bowling, have turned this World Cup campaign into what Ashley Young described as a "holiday".

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.

The Three Lions' only global title is the 1966 World Cup victory on home soil.

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

The calmness in England's camp on and off the field is in stark contrast to Croatia's experience.

"He was a constant threat to Sweden, of course he hasn't scored the goals he would have liked to have scored but for myself and the players he has been a crucial part of the way that we have been playing", he said.

The captain was the man of the match again in the penalty shootout win over Russian Federation in Sochi at the weekend.

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