Croatia's Mandzukic says team eager to prove themselves

Croatia's Mandzukic says team eager to prove themselves

That mattered little though for battling coach Stanislav Cherchesov who assembled a team that defied all forecasts and made the home nation proud. "We have two matches to play, we are very motivated, we will give our all", Dalic said, adding that the competition is wide open.

For a country like Croatia, with a population of little over four million, to be in the semi-finals of the World Cup is a remarkable achievement.

Croatia is seeking their first World Cup title, as they take on England in the semifinals.

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.

Croatia's Mario Mandzukic, left, dropped more than $A5,000 on the bar tab.

"For England to beat Croatia and reach the World Cup final, they must stop the best midfielder in the world", Jenas told BBC Sport.

Nicknamed "the Fiery Ones", that team has stood as an example to their successors ever since. As we regroup, he turns to me and says, "Right that's enough, time to lift the tempo, let's get about them".

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The 21-year-old Swiss will face the victor of German 11th seed Angelique Kerber's match against Japanese 18th seed Naomi Osaka . The Serb, seeded 12th, will meet big-hitting Russian youngster Karen Khachanov for a place in the quarter-final.

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. "But I am sure one of us will find a way to surprise him".

They beat Colombia on penalties and then dismissed Sweden in their two knockout games so far.

Russian Federation is hosting this year's cup for the first time, and enjoyed "home court advantage" no doubt, as it secured a place in the quarterfinals for the first time ever, after a victory over Spain.

"We've been always returning to the 1998 team, putting a new burden on Modric and his team".

"Those emotions are what drive us, that is our petrol and how we have come back to a semi-final after 20 years".

Squares have been packed with red-and-white painted fans, stalls selling football jerseys and flares, and drivers blaring their horns in scenes reminiscent of 1998. "We have everything needed to do that, a great team, great staff and I hope we will make the extra step", he said.

Former Croatia coach Slaven Bilic believes a constant theme in their national sides is their ability to raise their game against big sides, hence their low-key performances against Denmark and Russian Federation in the knockout stages, beating both on penalties, should be disregarded.

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