Croatia 'stopped Messi' so can cope with Kane - Dalic


Croatia progressed to the semi-finals of the World Cup after a second successive penalty shootout on Saturday but their inability to put away another unimpressive team over 90 minutes and extra time is a major worry for the Balkan side.

Classy midfield operator Modric has plenty of experience of English football having played in the Premier League for Spurs between 2008-2012, before moving to Real Madrid where he has won four Champions League titles in the last five seasons.

The father of three said the World Cup semi-final was "difficult" for him, but he thinks England will "edge" the win.

"It's not the same if you play 90 minutes twice and 120 minutes twice, but I believe we've had ample time to recover and we're professional enough to know who needs what in terms of recovery", he said.

Kane has scored six goals so far, and is two goals clear in the race for the Golden Boot award.

Subasic saved Russia's first penalty from Fedor Smolov and, after Russia's Mario Fernandes and Croatia's Mateo Kovacic had failed to convert, Barcelona's Rakitic clinched the second shoot-out win for the Croats, who reached the last for the second time, following 1998. "We don't fear England".

About 10,000 Croatia fans are expected among 80,000 people in Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium, including Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic.

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"It's completely irrelevant to talk about one or other defeat against Tottenham".

Modric has scored twice in Russian Federation, including a fabulous goal in the 3-0 win over Argentina in the group stage, and twice netted in nail-biting penalty shootouts against Denmark and Russian Federation.

"He's one of the greatest threats, but he's not alone".

"But if we are ready and compact like we were against Argentina, I don't believe we'll have any problems". Mexico lost the penalty shootout in 1986 against West Germany, and since then Italy (1990), France (1998), South Korea (2002), Germany (2006) and Brazil (2014) have all made the semi-finals.

'We dominated in extra-time and were the better team, we should have finished the job before penalties - but maybe it is written in the stars that we had to go through the extra drama'.

"This is already big, but we can do more". So we won't win the game just because Croatia had half an hour more football than us three days ago. We have played five games, but being exhausted can not be an alibi.

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