Croatia’s first-choice right-back Sime Vrsaljko has been ruled out with a knee injury suffered in the win over Russia. Goalkeeper Danijel Subasic will be monitored after suffering from a hamstring issue in that game.
England manager Gareth Southgate was given a boost when all 23 players in his squad trained fully on Tuesday. Jamie Vardy is available after sitting out the win over Sweden with a groin problem, while Jordan Henderson has overcome a tight hamstring.
VIEW FROM BOTH CAMPS
Croatia head coach Zlatko Dalic: “We have nice memories from France [when Croatia reached the semis in 1998], our players did a great job… We want to get close to them, although it is difficult to repeat this endeavour, but we will try.”
“We respect everyone – England, France. But none of the squads is better than us!”
England manager Gareth Southgate: “As I have got older, I have become more conscious that it is easy to avoid challenges and avoid putting yourself on the line.
“But in the end you will never know the possibilities of great success or great moments like we have had in the last few weeks.
“The brain sometimes tells you to avoid the possibility of disappointment or failure but that is going to happen.
“The key is how you respond to failure and react to it.”
Croatia has got good players right through their team and, without a doubt, they will be the best team that England have played at this World Cup – I am ignoring the meaningless match against Belgium.
So I think Gareth Southgate’s side will have to raise their level from what we have seen so far. But this just strikes me as one of those games that I really do think England will win, by hook or by crook.
I just have a feeling that England will find a way to win. Sometimes I think these things are written – and the way this tournament has opened up for England is one of the reasons it feels like this is their time.
Prediction: 1-2 (aet)
Source: BBC New