What Fifa World Cup games can I watch today? England play Croatia in Moscow for a place in Sunday’s final
A place in Sunday’s showpiece at the Luzhniki Stadium is up for grabs as nations battle it out in their first semi since the 1990s
It’s coming home. Or it’s not. We will find out tonight when England play Croatia at the Luzhniki Stadium, with the winner returning there on Sunday for the World Cup final where France await.
In between all the memes you might have noticed it is 28 years since England last contested a World Cup semi-final and a lot has changed since that night in Turin.
Croatia has come into existence as a country for example and the Three Lions opposition have also reached a semi-final in that time, losing to hosts and eventual winners France at the 1998 World Cup.
Most of the England players have also come in to existence.
Only seven of Gareth Southgate’s 23-man squad were born before July 4, 1990 and three of them – Jordan Henderson, Kyle Walker and Danny Rose – were no more than six weeks old. Even Ashley Young, the oldest of England’s players, was a couple of days off his fifth birthday.
Maybe that’s why this squad seems unburdened by the weight of history or perhaps it was the complete lack of expectation of them going into the tournament – how else can you explain an England team that have come through a penalty shoot-out scare?
Either way, they face their biggest test yet this World Cup and in the biggest game of their careers.
Croatia topped a tough group, winning all three games.
They have been taken to penalties in both their knockout games and while they would probably have preferred not to have played an extra hour of football, they did so after coming from behind.
They also kept their nerve in the shoot-outs, Danijel Subasic saving penalties in both before Ivan Rakitic calmly slotted home the winner.
Zlatko Dalic’s side are more experienced. Luka Modric and Vedran Corluka have both passed the 100-cap mark, while Rakitic and Mario Mandzukic are closing in on their centuries.
Gary Cahill entered the World Cup as England’s most capped squad member on 59 and he is not in Southgate’s first choice side.
Croatia’s squad has an average age of 27.9 while England, along with France, are the second youngest squad at the World Cup behind Nigeria at 26.
On the Fifa world rankings Croatia are 20th with England at 12th.
The bookmakers are going on the pre-tournament form. England are favourites at $2.4 compared to Croatia’s 3.65. The draw at $3.12 might be the surer bet as three of their four knockout games have been decided by penalty shoot-outs.
The game is live on Viu TV (channel 99) and Now TV’s World Cup channels (618 and 619). Kick-off is 2am.