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They still play long balls, says Croatia right back

They still play long balls, says Croatia right back

"Only great teams can be as courageous as we were and fight back from a goal down against teams like England", said Mandzukic, whose side face France in Sunday's final after their 2-1 extra-time win.

They matched the feat of their predecessors in 1998 who reached the semi-finals in the country's first World Cup as an independent nation.

In PP's weekly Pensions Buzz survey of readers, exactly 50% of 96 respondents said they believe England will win the football World Cup after waiting an epic 52 years.

Belgium and England will play in the third place game on Saturday, July 14. Known for his man-management skills, Blazevic inspired Croatia to the knockout stages of Euro 96, where they were beaten by eventual winners Germany, before going even further two years later.

"It's the best run I've ever seen in my lifetime, so obviously pretty upsetting the way that it went", said Stu Hutchinson. I can not remember the last time national euphoria over football was so palpable."It is perhaps no wonder that the loudest cheerleader of their World Cup run is their President, who is up for re-election in just over a year".

"Modric is a worldclass player and extremely effective for his country, for his club - and he has been one of the best players at this World Cup".

Not even a dramatic late spot-kick failure in the last 16 against Denmark could derail Modric's superb tournament, the Real Madrid man a strong contender for the Golden Ball at Russian Federation 2018.

"The difference sadly is a set play in a very close and tight game", lamented Belgium boss Roberto Martinez. "They have just displayed the qualities they have, that is all". "They are young but they have character, a (winning) mentality".

Should the same XI that started the game against Sweden line up to face Croatia?How to follow:Live on BBC Radio 5 live, live text commentary online, mobile, the BBC Sport app and Connected TV. Every match at this World Cup is like that.

The pensions industry is split straight down the middle on whether England will take home the trophy this Sunday, as tonight's semi-final against Croatia looms.

Croatia's all-time top scorer won the golden boot at the 1998 World Cup, having bagged six goals when the team made the semi-finals. It brings back a lot of good memories.

Earlier players partied inside the dressing room in a raucous atmosphere as they toasted reaching the final four of the tournament.

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