France earned its spot in the 2018 World Cup final with a 1-0 win over Belgium on Tuesday. In Wednesday’s seimfinal game, Croatia and England will square off at the same stadium that will host the final — Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.
While England is busy singing “Football’s coming home” as it carries on its quest for its first World Cup win in 52 years, a potential distraction entered Croatia’s camp on Monday.
While Harry Kane is the favorite for the World Cup’s Golden Boot award with a tournament-best six goals, it’s England’s goalkeeper who also has been instrumental in getting the Three Lions to the brink of history. Goalkeeper Jordan Pickford played just three games for England before the World Cup, but has played like a veteran to help his team reach the semifinals of a World Cup for the first time since 1990.
Croatia forward Mario Mandzukic is the biggest threat to Pickford’s goal. Feeding the ball to Mandzukic is Luka Modric, one of the best players on the planet.
One thing working against Croatia is how many minutes it has played to advance to the semifinal. Croatia went through extra time and penalty kicks against both Switzerland in the Round of 16 and Russia in the quarterfinals. England, meanwhile, had a relatively comfortable 2-0 win over Sweden in the quarterfinals.
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