Today at the World Cup: Wednesday, July 11
By Sky Sports Football
Last Updated: 11/07/18 7:13pm
Wednesday sees the second of the World Cup semi-finals as Croatia take on England in Moscow.
Each morning during the tournament we will bring you an overview of what is coming up...
Who's playing today?
Croatia v England (semi-finals) - Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, 7pm
What's the deal?
Croatia stand in the way of England making their first World Cup final since 1966 as the two teams meet in an intriguing Moscow semi-final.
England's 2-0 victory on Saturday over Sweden has got the country dreaming that 'football is coming home' after 52 years of disappointments at major tournaments.
Gareth Southgate thinks England could get an even bigger reception than the heroes of 1966 if they manage to win the World Cup.
He said: "I've met quite a few of those players [who won the World Cup] and we know exactly how they're held and perhaps, in the modern era, that would be even crazier. Social media and everything else, the global thing is so much bigger."
Croatia struggled to find rhythm in their penalty shootout knockout game victories against Denmark and Russia with boss Zlatko Dalic claiming the defensive style of their opponents stifled their creativity.
He said: "I'm glad we demonstrated strength at such matches and adapted their style, we played the best we could and finally got those matches. I hope that against England it will finally be our style of play and our match."
Ones to watch...
Harry Kane: England's goal machine looks to have the Golden Boot all wrapped up after a deadly spell of finishing, heavily helped by his prowess from the penalty spot. He'll be confident of adding to his tally of six up against Dejan Lovren. The defender was substituted just 31 minutes into the 4-1 Premier League defeat by Tottenham at Wembley with the Croatian culpable for each of the first two goals that his side conceded, where Kane got the better of him.
Luka Modric: The Real Madrid man knows a thing or two about breaking English hearts. On a drizzly night in 2007 when Croatia ended England's Euro 2008 qualification hopes with a 3-2 win at Wembley, the little midfielder was outstanding, upstaging Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard. He's been the driving force for his country in this tournament, covering more ground than any of his teammates and providing quality when it matters.
In November 2007, England's 3-2 defeat to Croatia at a rain-soaked Wembley meant Steve McClaren's side failed to qualify for Euro 2008.
Thrown in for his competitive debut in place of Paul Robinson, Scott Carson allowed Nico Kranjcar's speculative, long-range strike to squirm through him and into the net. When Ivica Olic skipped past Carson to stroke in a second six minutes later, England looked down and out. After the break, England responded, when Frank Lampard scored from the spot and Peter Crouch volleyed home. Mladen Petric put Croatia ahead again, with a left-foot strike from just outside the box.
In September 2008, Capello took his team to Zagreb and unleashed an inspired Theo Walcott. His hat-trick, along with a Rooney goal, secured a 4-1 win over a Croatia team reduced to 10 men early in the second half.
In the reverse fixture at Wembley one year on, England demolished their previous tormentors 5-1.
Stats of the day...
- This is the eighth meeting between England and Croatia, with England winning four of those games, with one draw and two Croatia wins; six of the previous seven games have also been played on a Wednesday.
- England are competing in their third World Cup semi-final; they won 2-1 against Portugal in 1966 on their way to winning the tournament, but lost on penalties to Germany in 1990.
- Croatia have had eight different scorers at the 2018 World Cup - only Belgium have had more different players find the net (9).
- Harry Kane has scored on six of the seven days of the week for England, with Wednesday the only day he hasn't scored on. Should he score, he'll become just the third player to score on all seven days of the week for England, after Wayne Rooney and Frank Lampard.