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Martin Keown’s Croatia scouting report ahead of clash with England




England play their first World Cup semi-final for 28 years when they face Croatia in Moscow on Wednesday night.

Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic are already household names in European football, but what about the rest of the starting lineup?

Sportsmail’s MARTIN KEOWN takes a look at their likely starting XI…

Croatia goalkeeper Danijel Subasic has made four shootout saves during the tournament so far

Croatia goalkeeper Danijel Subasic has made four shootout saves during the tournament so far

Centre half Domagoj Vida could be drafted in at right back and struggles against pace

Centre half Domagoj Vida could be drafted in at right back and struggles against pace

Danijel Subasic (Goalkeeper) Age 33 Caps 42 Goals 0

England don’t want this to go to penalties. He’s made four shootout saves in Russia, putting off opponents with a shimmy on the line.

Domagoj Vida (Right back) Age 29 Caps 63 Goals 3

Besiktas centre back will fill in if Vrsaljko is not fit. Struggles with pace and was sent off on 16 minutes against Bayern Munich last season.

Dejan Lovren (Centre back) Age 29 Caps 44 Goals 2

Kane is his worst nightmare. Both centre backs fear pace and drop deep at goal-kicks, making it hard for Croatia to build attacks.

Vedran Corluka (Centre back) Age 32 Caps 102 Goals 4

Former Spurs man will not enjoy Kane’s movement. Croatia mark zonally and may leave space for England to exploit at set-pieces.

Centre back Dejan Lovren has struggled up against Harry Kane for Liverpool in the past

Centre back Dejan Lovren has struggled up against Harry Kane for Liverpool in the past

Ivan Strinic (Left back) Age 30 Caps 47 Goals 0

Solid , aggressive and loves to bomb forwards. Strinic, who has just joined AC Milan, will whizz in crosses at any opportunity.

Marcelo Brozovic (Defensive midfield) Age 25 Caps 39 Goals 6

Keeps things neat and tidy but the Inter Milan midfielder’s range of passing is restricted to short balls feeding Modric and Rakitic.

Ante Rebic (Right wing) Age 24 Caps 20 Goals 2

Will test Ashley Young. Loves to take on his opponent and get crosses in — and is not averse to moving into the middle, either.

Marcelo Brozovic keeps things neat and tidy but the midfielder's passing ranger is restricted

Marcelo Brozovic keeps things neat and tidy but the midfielder’s passing ranger is restricted

Ivan Perisic is an intelligent player who often drifts into the centre forward position for Croatia

Ivan Perisic is an intelligent player who often drifts into the centre forward position for Croatia

Luka Modric (Central midfield) Age 32 Caps 111 Goals 14

Like Kevin De Bruyne for Belgium, not at his best when he is forced to play deeper. If he gets up the pitch, he can hurt England.

Ivan Rakitic (Central Midfield) Age 30 Caps 97 Goals 15

One of the sweetest strikers of a football. Barcelona star can pick any pass, will get forwards and shoots from distance with venom.

Ivan Perisic (Left wing) Age 29 Caps 71 Goals 19

Very intelligent. The fluid movement of Croatia’s front five will test England and Perisic often drifts into the centre forward position.  

Mario Mandzukic (Striker) Age 32 Caps 87 Goals 31

Likely to be up against John Stones, who he will lean all over. England can cope with him… but they must be up for the fight.

England must be up for the fight when they come up against Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic

England must be up for the fight when they come up against Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic










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Author: Nancy Parker

Nancy Parker is a five time Emmy Award winning journalist and seven time Emmy nominee who has spent almost twenty five years covering news in South Louisiana. She has anchored every prime time newscast at WVUE FOX8 during her twenty year tenure in New Orleans.

Nancy Parker
Nancy Parker is a five time Emmy Award winning journalist and seven time Emmy nominee who has spent almost twenty five years covering news in South Louisiana. She has anchored every prime time newscast at WVUE FOX8 during her twenty year tenure in New Orleans.
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