England dreaming but Croatia set to provide biggest SWC test

Croatia are just the second team to win successive shootouts in World Cup history, emulating Argentina's feat in 1990, when the latter won shootouts against Yugoslavia and Italy in the quarters and the semis, respectively.

Bilic believes a constant theme in Croatian national sides is they up their game against the historically bigger sides, thus their low key performances against Denmark and Russian Federation, beating both on penalties, should be disregarded.

Speaking on the eve of Croatia's meeting with England, Dalic said: "We are a country where anything is possible, so there are no surprises".

"This is already big, but we can do more".

Barcelona star Ivan Rakitic scored the last penalty for Croatia to send them to the semifinal where they will face England.

"This generation has been underrated due to their results but they've had the quality and now they are showing it".

"We believed in its potential, and I think the games that we've prepared for, we had belief we would win, but there is still pressure in all of those matches, so I'm really pleased with how the team have emerged and developed".

Fast forward just over 28 years and on Wednesday evening in Moscow they will play one again.

He has, however, noted the set-piece threat posed by Gareth Southgate's men.

About 10,000 Croatia fans are expected among 80,000 people in Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium, including Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic.

Now, finally, there is a team ready to join them in Croatian football's pantheon of heroes.

The coach, however, will have to wait and see if defender Sime Vrsaljko, who played in four of their five games, will be fit for the match after picking up a knee injury.

"I have all respect for Harry Kane".

He goes up against Liverpool's Dejan Lovren, who he embarrassed at Wembley earlier this season in a 4-1 club win.

"It's completely irrelevant to talk about one or other defeat against Tottenham".

Striker Fyodor Smolov struck an apologetic tone after failing to score during the tournament and missing in Saturday's shootout, saying: 'What you'd like to say yesterday and today about me, in your place I'd feel the same.' He was cheered by the crowd. "His team-mates play at top clubs, it's going to be a hard task but if we're ready to give our all on the pitch like against Argentina, if we're compact, I don't believe there will be problems".

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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