Published: Wed, July 11, 2018
Arts&Culture | By Antoinette Montgomery

Croatia Will Defend The Unofficial World Title Against England

Croatia Will Defend The Unofficial World Title Against England

Fast forward to tonight and Croatia, having won the title against Denmark on penalties two rounds ago, are defending their title against England, meaning whoever wins the final on Sunday will be official and unofficial world champions.

FiveThirtyEight gives England a 57 percent chance to reach the final, compared to Croatia's 43 percent.

Croatia, though, must not be taken lightly. The only other team to win two shootouts in a single World Cup was Argentina in 1990.

England will grind to a halt for the 1800 GMT kickoff at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium, with an estimated 30 million people across Britain expected to watch on TV and hundreds of thousands more cramming into pubs and public viewing areas to follow the game.

"We've made several pieces of history", England manager Gareth Southgate told BBC Sport. A attractive header by Harry Maguire in the first half was all they needed to win.

In their quarter-final clash with Russia, the Croats showed a different side, being willing to slug it out with the Russians for 120 minutes before keeping their cool and winning the shootout in such a partisan atmosphere.

The latest JOE World Cup Minipod hosted by Dion Fanning and Paddy McKenna is here.

. We keep looking to break the barriers down.

England football players and their manager have an opportunity to achieve sporting immortality tomorrow as they aim to reach the 2018 FIFA World Cup final.

"They are capable of going the whole way".

Croatia extended their reign with another penalty shootout victory over Russian Federation in the quarter-finals, but could lose out to Gareth Southgate's men tonight.

England manager Gareth Southgate has spoken of how penalty shoot-outs can be emotionally draining, but Croatia striker Mario Mandzukic does not not feel the team will be exhausted.

There are a number of key battles that may well decide the game; how John Stones copes with the physicality of Mario Mandzukic will be one, as will how Jordan Henderson can cope playing against Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic.

He could have scored even more goals if he had been given the kind of quality supply he gets from Christian Eriksen and the wide players at Spurs, but Jesse Lingard, Raheem Sterling and Dele Alli have all come up short in my eyes. "We're really proud in the style that we've played, with the intelligence that we've played, and that we've performed under pressure and dealt with hard situations in games where we've had to wait until the last minute to score, we've had to recover from conceding in last minute, we've been through extra time, penalties". We have not been exhausted.

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