Who will be the key players for Croatia v England?

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Croatia will be looking to dash the hopes of a nation as they take on England for a spot in the World Cup Final.

Zlatko Dalic’s squad has a nice blend of grizzled veterans, world-class stars, and emerging young aces. And he has used his 23 players to excellent effect to advance the team to the last four.

We take a look at three of Croatia’s key players and the main men who England will need to watch carefully.

Luka Modric

It’s beyond stating the obvious, but the Real Madrid metronome is arguably the best midfielder in the world.

The 32-year-old is a four-time Champions League winner and Croatia’s biggest star. His ability to control games from the base of midfield is nigh-on untouchable in the current game.

However, Dalic tends to employ Modric in a more advanced role. And with England probably weakest in the defensive midfield area, the former Tottenham Hotspur man will be tasked with exploiting that deficiency.

Ante Rebic

The Fiorentina midfielder had an excellent season on-loan at Eintracht Frankfurt last term. He scored a superb brace in the 3-1 DFB Pokal Final win against Bayern Munich.

And the 24-year-old has continued that form in Russia. Rebic can play in an advanced wide role, or centrally as a striker. He’s quick and shows great movement.

His volleyed goal against Argentina was an example of instinctive, exceptional finishing, too. Modric will be looking to pick out his runs.

Danijel Subasic

Away from Croatia’s offensive line-up, arguably the most important player in Vatreni’s team is goalkeeper, Danijel Subasic.

The Monaco stopper has been tremendous all tournament. He was the hero in both penalty shootout wins over Denmark and Russia.

The 33-year-old injured himself in the latter win, but is expected to play. And Dalic will need him between the sticks. Three of Harry Kane’s six World Cup goals have been penalties.

Subasic has made a name for himself for stopping spot kicks. And that could be vital again in a game this tight.

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Cian Carroll

Starting life as a football columnist for his local paper in Dundalk, Cian has written for a number of media outlets with pieces published in The Birmingham Mail and Spain’s El Mundo Deportivo. A lover of football, GAA, boxing, rugby and MMA, he’s a big Aston Villa and Dundalk fan. He can be regularly spotted on various mountain tops.