Trump, May get Croatian jerseys ahead of England World Cup semi-final

Trump, May get Croatian jerseys ahead of England World Cup semi-final

With the exception of Villarreal midfielder Denis Cheryshev and Club Brugge goalkeeper Vladimir Gabulov, all members of Russia's 23-man squad play in their struggling domestic league.

After a dramatic win on penalties against hosts Russia, Croatia has repeated the success of the 1998 team which reached the semi-finals in the country's first World Cup as an independent nation.

Russian Federation had delivered the flawless opening salvo, firing five goals past the Saudis in the World Cup opening match that instantly gave the home crowd a reason to turn their attention to football.

France took full advantage of an Edinson Cavani-less Uruguay, before tournament favourites Brazil were put to the sword by Belgium's incisive counter-attacking in a thrilling game in Kazan. "That in future we talk about them", said Blazevic, now 83, and known in Croatia as the "coach of all coaches".

England's loss in 1990 was turned into a documentary film and has become a fabled part of the country's "52 years of pain" since their 1966 World Cup triumph. Since this is his last World Cup, given his age, I'm very glad he's among the last four at the World Cup, but all the other players are putting in that effort.

Seeking to shift the pressure to The Three Lions, Dalic told a press conference on the eve of the game that Croatia has no reason to feel nervous as they contemplate only the second World Cup semifinal in their comparatively short history.

"Russia has surpassed all expectations, but against Croatia, they will have to play much better than against Spain if they want a chance for the semi-finals".

Croatia's best previous World Cup run dates back 20 years to 1998, when they lost in the last four to eventual winners France.

"It's so special to do something with the national team".

Since that Argentina game, Croatia have done just enough to beat Iceland, Denmark and Russian Federation, but Dalic believes that is because they set up to frustrate his side, whereas England's more attacking style could suit them better. "We have everything needed to do that, a great team, great staff and I hope we will make the extra step", he said. "It is going to be hard and interesting for both teams".

"I think we are underdogs from day one and it's good for us, " Lovren said.

Balkan Insight reports on widespread outrage against the Croatian Football Federation for allowing corruption to thrive in the sport. "Why didn't you ask me about when I played well against him?"