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Gary Neville's World Cup predictions are very impressive in hindsight

10 July 2018

Mario Mandzukic has sealed his place as a hero of the people by laying on free drinks for the residents of his hometown during Croatia's World Cup quarterfinal win over Russian Federation.

"We have one more step to go in Croatia and we'll treat it as "one game at a time".

England face Croatia in the World Cup semi-finals this week playing for the chance of a lifetime.

His mid-season injury looks an even bigger shame now, with England denied an invaluable option for their biggest World Cup game in 28 years. For while Croatia looked excellent in the group stages they've needed penalties to get past Denmark and then hosts Russian Federation in the knockout rounds.

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"They are really good at set-pieces and their tall players are unsafe at corners".

Sterling celebrates with his teammates during England's win over Sweden.

One man who did get a goal was Dele Alli.

There has been a lot of talk about Raheem Sterling but he's never hidden at this World Cup, never stopped running nor stopped giving his all. His pace has petrified defences in every game that he's featured so far and Croatia are not the quickest at the back.

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Betfair Ambassador Rio Ferdinand is in confident mood ahead of Wednesday night's test against Croatia and is backing the Three Lions to put on a show to make their first World Cup final since 1966. England to win and Under 2.5 goals is a 3/1 chance and might be the way to bet.

For a country like Croatia, with a population of little over four million, to be in the semi-finals of the World Cup is a remarkable achievement. It's been a odd campaign for France, who looked subdued all through the group phase.

The opposite side of the draw, in contrast, featured five-time champions Brazil, fellow former winners Uruguay, Argentina and France, European champions Portugal and Belgium's golden generation - who beat England in the group stage.

This choice of personnel, along with wide players Ivan Perisic and Ante Rebic, would create a four-man front for England and could trouble their back three in transition should Modric pounce and exploit the spaces in behind Kieran Trippier and Ashley Young. It's the same with (Belgium's) Kevin de Bruyne, he wasn't doing much before (scoring against) Brazil.

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Gary Neville's World Cup predictions are very impressive in hindsight