Jamie Vardy sends Gareth Southgate update ahead of World Cup semi-final

Ashley Young England 03072018

Jamie Vardy sends Gareth Southgate update ahead of World Cup semi-final

Croatia booked their spot in the last four the hard way after their last-16 and quarter-final games against Denmark and Russian Federation respectively went to penalties .

Southgate admits he sees similarities between the run to the 1996 semifinal and this one in Russian Federation although it's best not mention to him that football is coming home.

If Vrsaljko is ruled out then Dalic has two options, either bringing in specialist right-back Tin Jedvaj, who played against Iceland, or the more probable option of moving Domagoj Vida to right-back and bringing in the experienced Vedran Corluka to pair Dejan Lovren at centre back.

"It's a huge test for us but we're in the semi-final of a World Cup, we wouldn't expect it to be any different". England will be looking to build on a string of confident performances, while Croatia will wonder if they have anything left in the tank after going to penalty kicks in two straight matches. Kane scored three times for Tottenham against Liverpool last season, and Lovren didn't enjoy the best of times marking the 24-year-old striker.

"But he is a world class player and he is extremely effective for his country, for his club, and he has been one of the best players here at the World Cup so far".

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"We're going into a semi-final but it just seems like it's the next step on the journey", he said. Right now, though, everyone is enjoying the ride and Southgate admits that the frenzied support back in England is beginning to filter through to his players in Russian Federation.

Before their arrival in Russia, England had not won a knockout game since the 2006 World Cup. "I'm certain our team will play well and I have complete trust they'll go and play in the way they have throughout this tournament".

"But I like to challenge these strikers and to show to everyone that I'm one of the best defenders".

Henderson, if again selected as England's sole holding midfielder, will need to be at his disruptive best to prevent the Croatians developing a stranglehold in the middle of the pitch, while also watching out for those surging runs forward.

"They are a fantastic team, they work for each other".

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"We also feel we've had events on when we've been in camp when some of those guys have been in, when the road was named at St George's after Sir Alf".

Although Croatia are the most hard opponent England will have faced in the tournament, Southgate's words suggest he will continue with his attacking formation and personnel.

I find this one really hard to call.

If England win on Wednesday, though, Southgate and his players will become more than mere fashion icons.

The Vatreni will be hoping to go further than their side from 1998, who lost to hosts and eventual winners France in the semi-final.

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