Croatia star hoping to be fit for World Cup semi-final

Belgium meet France in the semis in St Petersburg on Tuesday with the Red Devils tantalisingly close now to fulfilling their potential after previously under-achieving with a talent-laden squad.

Bilic was at the helm when Croatia were seconds away from the Euro 2008 semi-finals, only for Turkey to level and progress on penalties. After winning Group D, Croatia beat Denmark and Russian Federation in penalty kicks to get to this point, while England knocked out Colombia in the round of 16 in penalties before taking down Sweden in the quarterfinals. He has been playing in a different, deeper midfield role in this tournament.

The teams then traded two scores each before Ivan Rakitic calmly converted the winning penalty.

"I think the current generation of Croatian players has been underestimated", Dalic told a news conference.

"They play very direct football, dangerous, fast, and they are really good at setpieces, and dangerous at corner kicks".

While the Three Lions as a collective have been fantastic in Russian Federation under Gareth Southgate so far, Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli has arguably not shown his best form at the World Cup, and it's something that hasn't gone unnoticed by the player himself. They were also champions that year. "So what happened in those two games is kind of irrelevant to what might happen on Wednesday". The pair previously played for Ukrainian club Dynamo Kiev.

"Modric can create magical moments".

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After once again starring as Real won a fourth Champions League crown in five seasons by beating Liverpool in Kiev in May, Modric will be nearly assured of winning the Ballon d'Or if he can lead Croatia all the way to improbable World Cup glory.

  • Julie Sanders