England target World Cup final but gifted Croatia stand in the way

World Cup 2018: Croatia vs. England preview, time, how to watch

Eight years later, in their first World Cup as an independent nation, Croatia lost to hosts and eventual winners France.

While not scoring against Sweden in the quarter-finals, Kane was instrumental up front and continues to be the Three Lions key player. It correctly predicted draws in regulation for Spain-Russia (+280), Croatia-Denmark (+225) and England-Colombia (+215) and was all over France beating Uruguay in regulation to reach the semifinals, not to mention Brazil and Belgium cruising in the Round of 16.

Midfielder Ivan Rakitic thinks the spirit that carried the team through those tense knockout matches will stand it in good stead against England, which is hoping to beat two European nations at a World Cup for the first time since 1982.

"I want to say to English fans: "Guys, get it together, come to Russian Federation and support your national team because they have got into the semi-final", Lopyreva said. The France '98 semi-finalists will be looking to one of the players of the tournament, Luka Modric, to guide them one step further in Russian Federation.

British Airways, which has seen a 700 percent increase in searches for flights to Russian Federation since England's last-16 penalty shootout win over Colombia, has created hundreds more seats on Moscow flights by using bigger planes.

"This generation has been underrated for a long time but they have shown their qualities when it matters and they will go down in history as a great generation that has come close to the "bronze Vatreni" of 1998".

With their own bitter memories of past semi-final defeats in the soccer tournament, England and Croatia will be competing for a spot in Sunday's final against France.

England is playing its biggest World Cup match since 1990 on Wednesday when it takes on Croatia in the semifinals.

More news: England - World Cup - 12 July 2018

England is led by its captain, Harry Kane, who has scored six goals already at the 2018 World Cup and is the front-runner for the Golden Boot.

"This is maybe a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity".

'And I'm a little bit anxious about Harry Kane.

"I was 18 years old in 1998, it was one of the most lovely nights of my life".

"I don't know what to say. It will be an attacking game with goals as both teams can't really defend, but it is unlikely to be three shoot-outs in a row for Croatia".

Kane, who tops the Golden Boot standings in Russian Federation, had already scored and assisted as Spurs recorded a 4-1 victory in October.

"It's completely irrelevant, " he said through a translator. "Why didn't you ask me about when I played well? You are just nitpicking my poor performances".

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