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World Cup 2018

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Croatia was treated very badly at the Brazil 2014 World Cup by the officials and then, they had some sort of problem with Portugal in 2016 at the Euro...so, yes, they are just scraping by.

So, I don't despise them. Of course, I want to see England win convincingly in regular time against them and I think that will happen.

20 years ago, Croatia was in the semi-final as the announcers repeat over and over again, losing to France.

 

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Genuinely think we can beat Croatia. The only question is whether we play a little more defensive to counter Croatia's midfield. The gaps and defensive lapses from the past few games will not go unpunished if we keep doing them. 

Russia have done incredibly well. Very strange that a team who were ranked so low and been so diabolical before the tournament suddenly became very good, but it seems to happen to every host nation. South Korea got to the semi finals in 2002 after all. Maybe the home advantage at a world cup really is that powerful.  

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54 minutes ago, ossyian said:

This competition is a total joke. There is going to be some sort of inquest 1 month after the comp finishes with drug testing of all participants. The Whistle blower from Russia (now in hiding) of the Olympic Athletes has stated the Russians will be full of banned substances as it is state sponsored. How on gods earth can they run so many more miles more than the opposition? FIFA should have banned them at same time as IOC and moved the tournament.

Actually agree with most of this. Russia have an awful history of state sponsored doping, a lot of it quite recent too. 

To the person who said how can you get 23 players to agree to it?

1, Maybe they're told it's just 'vitamins' and are genuinely unaware

2, If Putin says take this, who's going to say no?

As to the inquest i month after the event, I'm not even sure that would work either. Who does the testing? Would anyone trust FIFA? Not me, that's for sure.

For a team ranked 61st in the world that was quite an incredible tournement, by the end of this match the Croatians were dropping like proverbial flies, the Russians still looked full of running. On a side note though, it gives us a much better chance of beating Croatia, they looked totally spent after that

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Croatia have played two sides who are very defensive in their last two games, but England aren't so they will enjoy playing us. England can't go defensive and wont, its not their game and they can't change how they've played all tourny. Be a very tough game. 

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Just now, Tyrone Shoelaces said:

Not a great deal between England and Croatia apart from the fact they have Modric. If there's been a better midfield player in this competition I haven't seen him. He's been immense. Tugay with pace. 

He's the difference between the two teams. As long as he's on the pitch they must be favourites.

You could argue in Kane we've got a world class player like Croatia have Modric.

Id say it is a very even game. They've got much more quality in midfield, we have better strikers (well, Kane) and defenders.

Genuinely 50-50 in my opinion. Should be a cracker.

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1 minute ago, AllRoverAsia said:

Bang on the money. Southgate has to work out how to contain Modric. He runs them.

Got to admit I like watching him play.

Me too. His touch is like Velcro, his passing is always on the button, and he thinks quick and runs quick. The amount of ground he covers is amazing. I can't recall seeming him have a quiet game. It's like having an extra player.

Edited by Tyrone Shoelaces

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Just now, joey_big_nose said:

You could argue in Kane we've got a world class player like Croatia have Modric.

Id say it is a very even game. They've got much more quality in midfield, we have better strikers (well, Kane) and defenders.

Genuinely 50-50 in my opinion. Should be a cracker.

If Kane doesn't get any service he'll struggle to make an impact. Modric will make an impact because he doesn't have to rely on other players giving him the ball.

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I have no fear of croatia..2 top midfielders in modric and racitic and a very good wide man in peresic but their defenders are poor and they lack any quality up front

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Just now, roverandout said:

I have no fear of croatia..2 top midfielders in modric and racitic and a very good wide man in peresic but their defenders are poor and they lack any quality up front

I think they're solid at the back but not outstanding. Up front they are a bit lightweight. It's in midfield were they have a massive advantage. Modric did as much tonight for them as both Alli and Lingard combined did for us this afternoon.

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Just now, Tyrone Shoelaces said:

Me too. His touch is like Velcro, his passing is always on the button, and he thinks quick and runs quick. The amount of ground he covers is amazing. I can't recall seeming him have a quiet game. It's like having an extra player.

He was doing full on sprints towards the end of normal time and again in extratime trying to win it. At the final whistle he looked upset and shaking his head as it was going to the pens lottery. He also about due another goal in open play.

One to be respected.

I think we can raise our game against better teams so remain hopeful.

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When you get to a semi-final you expect to play a Germany, Brazil etc so in that respect playing Croatia is as good as we can expect for a semi-final.  That said I think that this will be a very close game.  Croatia's midfield is very good and they way we play it will give them more time and space.  Our defence makes me nervous, we concede to many chances and better quality players will make us pay.  However going forward we should also cause them plenty of problems if we continue to play as we have.  Both semi-finals should be excellent.

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Very good professional performance by England today. We could easily have had 4 or 5 bar poor decisions and finishing. However Sweden where poor really, and looked like they are missing the odd top quality player they have had in the past.

Watched Russia v Croatia, Croatia a class above but must be worrying how a poor Russian side scored twice, and forced penalties.

Given the semi is Weds, hope that the extra time will make heavy legs for Croatia, and that they may have picked up a couple if injuries too - their keeper for one was struggling.

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7 minutes ago, Tyrone Shoelaces said:

I think they're solid at the back but not outstanding. Up front they are a bit lightweight. It's in midfield were they have a massive advantage. Modric did as much tonight for them as both Alli and Lingard combined did for us this afternoon.

Agreed but lovren is a weaklink

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Really pleased by England and their performance. 

Southgate is proving alot of people wrong who doubted him. Its really pleased to see an England team performing and over achieving IMO to what my expectations were before the world cup started

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I doubt Croatia and Modric in particular will be as dopey against us as they were against Russia. England v Croatia is a genuine 50/50 and could be a blinder of a game. Despite all the talent on show, France might go ultra cautious against Belgium in the other SF.

Earlier in the tournament, I had ??? against four England players.

Now this 4 rank:

Young- magnificent

Alli- coming good

Walker- ok so far but still a disaster in waiting

Sterling- WTF

Having written that, it will be arise Sir Raheem after his hattrick in the Final 

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7 hours ago, chaddyrovers said:

Really pleased by England and their performance. 

Southgate is proving alot of people wrong who doubted him. Its really pleased to see an England team performing and over achieving IMO to what my expectations were before the world cup started

Chaddy, you do realise you are one of the people Southgate is proving wrong simply on the basis of this post? Just wondering!

I'm another by the way!

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40 minutes ago, 47er said:

Chaddy, you do realise you are one of the people Southgate is proving wrong simply on the basis of this post? Just wondering!

I'm another by the way!

I had doubts about him and I still have. If he comes up with a plan to beat Croatia I'll hold my hand up.

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I do agree that Croatia will be our toughest test yet. I did tip them for the final. But we have gone farther than any of us expected and its not over yet.

Confidence is a wonderful thing.

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Croatia and specifically their midfield will no doubt be the biggest test so far but from what I’ve seen I still think we’re better than them. I doubt we’ll ever face a team in a World Cup semi final where we’re the favourites again.

Massive opportunity to get to a World Cup final and if we get there we have a punchers chance. Is the gap between us and France/Belgium any bigger than it was between Greece and Portugal or Portugal and France in France and domestically Wigan and citeh.

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I think ourselves and Croatia are both teams that have grown into this World Cup as it has progressed. Hopefully they'll be feeling leggy after about 5 of them got cramp yesterday.

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If we are to progress to the final we need to respect possession more. Our passing was very sloppy at times yesterday with Alli especially being guilty of not finding a red shirt. We also started the game very slowly and we were playing walking football almost right from the off. That was exactly what Sweden wanted us to do. I think we always play better when we up the tempo. Against Croatia if we play at a slow tempo they'll just pass through and around us. I was surprised to see a team playing with three centre backs and a midfield sweeper get opened up several times down the centre by simple through balls. Croatia will be looking to exploit that weakness.

Another issue is we have a top class goal scorer in Kane yet the supply to him was almost non existent in the last two game. His hold play is great when he drops deep but ideally we need him going in the other direction.

I think if everyone is fit we'll start with the same 11 that started yesterday but I remain to be convinced regarding several players. Lingard, Alli, Stirling, Young to name a few names.

I'm concentrating on the negatives because the positives take care of themselves.

 

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1 hour ago, Tyrone Shoelaces said:

I think if everyone is fit we'll start with the same 11 that started yesterday but I remain to be convinced regarding several players. Lingard, Alli, Stirling, Young to name a few names.

 

For me Lingard is a certain starter. Hes a critical part of the team with his running and passing. I don't understand this stick  he gets at all. Hes a top player.

Alli has the goal now so definitely will keep his place imo. The expectation will be with a bit more fitness now and confidence from the goal we should see an uptick in his performances. Certainly there is little on the bench you could argue is better than him.

Young and Sterling are interesting ones as we do have other good options to bring in. That said Young's delivery yesterday was excellent (Maguire scored from his corner), as was his covering down the left so he's not going to be dropped for Rose at this stage.

Which leaves Sterling who is very frustrating. Throughout the tournament his running off the ball has been superb, and he's been solid dropping in and defending. But his final ball and finishing has been very very poor. He could have had a hat trick yesterday and a couple of assists, but they all came to nought. I think he will definitely play, Gareth has shown he wants to stick with the same team, and I guess the manager really rates his off the ball work. But if any of those four players were to be swapped out Raheem would be the one.

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There's not enough end product with Lingard and Alli for me, Lingard especially is too easily shrugged off the ball in my opinion. He's used to playing in the Premier League were every little push is a free kick. In this World Cup pretty strong challenges have been allowed and he's not up to the challenge.

Young looks what he his, a winger being asked to play full back. It's a bit like us playing Conway there. Having to keep coming back onto his right foot is slowing us down. That second or two it takes to change feet is the difference between Kane being marked or not being marked. If you can't land a corner accurately you shouldn't be taking them. That's a given for me.

Stirling looks like he could go the rest of his career for England and not score a goal. He doesn't even look like scoring. Look at the golden chances he's had this tournament. He's fluffed the lot and badly fluffed them at that. He's the sort of player that can do the instinctive things well but give him time to think and he invariably takes the wrong option.

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