Projecting Final Matchup Before 1st Semi-Final Game

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The unfortunate pair will for ever be haunted by the awful moment they missed the penalties which condemned England to the role of runners-up in a dazzling and ultimately cruel World Cup semi-final here.

The excitement is palpable as this is the first time England have made it to this stage in the competition in 28 years.

In the quarter-finals, France and Brazil would have been my pick for the favourites of the remaining teams.

Croatia don't see themselves as favourites in Wednesday's World Cup semi-final although most of their players have more worldwide experience than those from opponents England. By no means are they assured a spot, as world No. 7 France, who oddsmakers are favouring, stand in their way.

The experiences that brought him to a World Cup semi-final include being snubbed by a current England team-mate, nutmegging Luka Modric and Euro 2016 heartbreak against Iceland.

Croatia have reached the last four on one occasion - in 1998 - and they have the chance to create national history with a maiden final appearance. He also captained France to the final of the 2006 World Cup when he famously ended his worldwide career in a moment of madness, headbutting Italian defender Marco Materazzi and getting sent off.

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. "It's a strength of England but it could potentially give Croatia more space with could potentially make for a really good game", he added. Previously, it had forecast that England would lose the Croatia game.

Teenager Kylian Mbappe has come alive in this tournament and became the first teenager to score two goals in a World Cup match since Pele in 1958 when he hit a brace in the 4-3 round-of-16 win over Argentina. We want those who are 100 percent match fit. "We need to go out on a real high, these players deserve that". I have never done that, even in training.

Several hundred fans from Slavonski Brod watched the shootout on big screens in the grounds of Brod Fortress on a bar tab provided by hometown hero - and the team's star striker - Mario Mandzukic.

Unpredictability is the operative word for this year's cup, as no one predicted that only European teams would be left on the field; that Brazil would have been knocked out of the semi-finals; and that Russian Federation had gone as far as it did. Ronaldo played last Monday but did not score.

In retrospect, we should have seen England's victory coming. "We know where we are".