Croatia have worries over their first choice right back Sime Vrsalijko ahead of tonight’s World cup semi final against England in Moscow. The defender injured his knee during the quarter final win over host country Russia and is rated as extremely doubtful to be fit in time to take his place in the team. Along with Vrsaljko, Croatia management are also monitoring goal keeper Danijel Subasic who suffered a hamstring strain during the same game.
On the other side England manager Gareth Southgate has reported a fully 23 man squad to select from with Leicester City’s striker Jamie Vardy back in contention after recovering from a groin issue that saw him sit out the win of Sweden, while midfielder Jordan Henderson has overcome a small hamstring problem.
Although Southgate is expected to keep the same side that beat Sweden 2-0 in the Quarter finals the ability to bring Vardy's speed off the bench could prove the difference in the later stages.
Not taking the final group game against Belgium which both sides played virtually their reserves teams, Croatia will be the hardest test Southgate’s England side have faced in Russia, no-one can overlook the way they walked through the group stage, especially the 3-0 win over Argentina and the way they nullified the threat of Lionel Messi for the entire 90 mins.
But this new England side have raised their performance when ever required and possibly go into this game as the slightest of favourites having won four of their pervious 7 meetings with Croatia, with two draws and a single defeat making up the rest.
Also the fact that Croatia have twice required Penalties to progress means they have played over an hours’ worth of extra time which could show in their legs towards the end of the match.
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