Southgate and Henderson preview Croatia

1966 England team

England progressed to the last four of football's flagship tournament for the first time since 1990 with a 2-0 win over Sweden on Saturday while Croatia advanced by overcoming hosts Russian Federation on penalties.

He is now trying to minimise potential distractions as his young team prepare to take the next step in their bid to repeat the 1966 World Cup triumph at home.

"We watched England and we saw how strong they are", Modric said in the post match press conference after his sides quarter-final victory. "Our preparation for the game has been identical".

"You don't have to change things, you don't have to do things differently". It will be another very tough match for us, a great challenge.

A similarly masterful performance from the 32-year-old could spell the end of England's World Cup hopes in what is set to be a hard game for both sides.

England are dreaming of a first World Cup final since 1966 but first they must come through Wednesday's semi-final at the Luzhniki Stadium against Croatia in what looks like their toughest test yet in Russian Federation.

Southgate explained: "We are enjoying the journey". The longer the game goes on, there's no way England can't win.

Gareth Southgate has created an exciting young squad, built upon an attractive style of play and a fearless attitude rarely seen from English sides in global football.

Roger Federer, Serena Williams in Wimbledon masterclass as Caroline Wozniacki crashes
Agassi, a victor of eight grand slam titles in a stellar career, is at a loss to explain Federer's incredible achievements. Del Potro was leading 7-6 (7/1), 7-6 (7/5), 5-7 when his tie with Simon was halted for the night due to darkness.

Behind him, England's midfield will face their biggest test as they look to deal with star pairing Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic, not to mention the likes of Mateo Kovacic and Marcelo Brozovic.

With an average squad age of just over 26 and fewer combined caps than any other participating team, Southgate knows there is still plenty of room for improvement.

Southgate has been just the voice of reason England have needed to prevent anyone from getting too carried away.

"At the beginning of working together with the lads and trying to sell them the vision of what's possible, what we're looking to achieve in the long-term".

"So we're excited about the future but we also want to make the most of the opportunity we have tomorrow".

But Southgate thinks talk of that handing a physical advantage to England is being overplayed.

Modric started that match at Wembley and remains integral to Croatia's game 11 years later, the captain having been widely hailed as one of the best players at the finals in Russian Federation. Henderson has attempted more passes per game than any other English midfielder at the World Cup, with an average of 59.3.

And Southgate believes winning the World Cup this year would be even bigger than Sir Alf Ramsey's side doing so 52 years ago.

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