Jaded Croatia look to master Modric to carry them through


Modric's skill is well documented, but the Real Madrid star has shown another side to his game with lung-busting performances at the World Cup for Croatia.

Belgium's golden generation has come up short at a major tournament. "When I was playing against Monaco he had only played about 10 matches".

"I think we feel that is of no bearing to this team", Southgate said. From the off, that was my problem because I'm part of that history. We can be very happy and lucky that we can have the team what we have.

"They should be judged on them as a team. We played at club level as well", says striker Mario Mandzukic, who played with Modric at Dinamo Zagreb a decade ago before the latter joined Tottenham Hotspur.

"There are lots of similarities between us and them because they're a humble lot who are in it together". We have played five games, but being exhausted can not be an alibi.

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It might be tempting to hope for good luck at such a crucial juncture, but the only superstitious spell in the England manager's coaching career was fleeting. "I can not tell you (if he will play on Wednesday)", Dalic said. In fact, when Ante Cacic was sacked in October, Dalic was appointed just two days before the final group game in Ukraine, which Croatia won to get a play-off spot.

The penalty shootout win against hosts Russian Federation in the quarter-finals on Sunday seems to have gone a long way towards achieving that. "We were unlucky at previous tournaments but now we are collecting those debts this year", said Modric after Saturday's win over Russian Federation in Sochi. "He would go into areas just in front of the full-backs where, if I was playing against him, I would think, "I am going to go out there and mark you", Jenas said. So, I did and we won 2-0.

"I will go home, take the dogs for a run, disappear to Yorkshire, but it is of course a chance to be involved in something incredibly special". I've seen him do the same thing time and time again at this World Cup.

Croatia reached the World Cup semi-finals for just the second time in their history as an independent nation by beating the hosts Russian Federation in Sochi.

"They'll be the best team we've played in terms of what they're capable of doing with the ball, and what individuals are capable of, definitely", the Three Lions boss added.

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Belgium doesn't boast the decorated history of its semi-final opponent, but this golden generation bursting with talent gives the Red Devils a real chance of winning its first global tournament.

"We're only the second team to reach a semi-final out of our country, and that's quite significant".

"Everything is positive, we're enjoying every moment".

"But I'm glad we demonstrated strength at such matches and adapted their style, we played the best we could and finally got those matches".

The RAC predicted that those of us left behind would embark on the year's earliest commute.

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Philippe Coutinho missed a great chance to draw his team level in the 83rd minute after being set up by Neymar . For the third time in a World Cup - after 1982 and 2006 - the semifinals will feature only European teams .