Finally, England and Croatia have chance to banish semi blues

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The playmaker, who won a third successive Champions League title with Real Madrid before coming to Russian Federation, brushed off suggestions that his performance might put him in the running for the Ballon d'Or prize as the world's best player. "We hope for a victory", Plenkovic, dressed in a football jersey, told reporters before leaving for Moscow.

"In the second half and in extra time we dominated, we should have finished the job before penalties, but maybe it's written in the stars that we have to go through the extra drama", he added.

Every time a Croatian player appears before the media at this World Cup, he knows a question about Modric is coming, and every time the answer reflects the admiration there is in the squad for their captain.

The coach, however, will have to wait and see if defender Sime Vrsaljko, who played in four of their five games, will be fit for the match after picking up a knee injury.

"He shows great potential and I am sure he has a bright future". But he saved fantastically the first shot in the shootout.

"Until five or six years ago I was bit vain, and in a way glad that in 1998 we set the bar so high that it was hard to even contemplate, let alone jump over it. Thank God everything is fine with him".

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The penalty shootout win against hosts Russian Federation in the quarterfinals on Saturday seems to have gone a long way towards achieving that. "We have been waiting for a number of years to do something great with Croatia", Mandzukic told a press conference.

The match takes place in Moscow on Wednesday evening, and Dalic has warned his team should not be underestimated.

The path to the final, to history in fact, could not have been easier-no, England cannot be considered a strong side-and this is Croatia's best chance, if they make use of the incredible talent they have in midfield.

The Croatian Football Federation (HNS) in a statement on Tuesday said it had revoked Vukojevic's accreditation at the World Cup and relieved him of his duties as an associate of the Croatia coaching staff. The internet is flooded with memes, videos and overzealous English fans, who also happen to be at almost every World Cup game singing "It's coming home".

France and Belgium muscled their way past big teams to reach the last four, and fought out a tight battle last night. Several players who are not members of the current team are still under investigation over possible drug offences. Croatia also has a prime minister who is in charge of the government while the president leads the parliament and is the head of state.

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