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Previewing Day 23 of the FIFA World Cup

Part of our 2018 FIFA World Cup Hub

The first semifinal of the world’s biggest sporting event will kick-off on Tuesday at 2pm Eastern Time.

Croatia are looking to reach their first ever World Cup Final.


Croatia take on England for “the other semifinal”. In Brazil 2014, both of these teams were eliminated in the Group Stage. This is England’s 3rd semifinal after England 1966 and Italy 1990, and Croatia’s 2nd semifinal after France 1998. Croatia placed 3rd on that occasion, while England have won their only World Cup title at home.

These sides first met for a 1996 friendly in England, just a year after the Croatian War of Independence. It ended in a scoreless draw.

They met in the Group Stage of Euro 2004, in Portugal, where England won 4-2. Croatia were eliminated, while England lost to the hosts in the next round on penalties.

Croatia and England were in the same qualifying group for Euro 2008. Croatia won their home leg 2-0 and England lost their home leg 3-2. England narrowly missed out on the final tournament, finishing 3rd in the group behind Russia. Croatia qualified as group winners and would reach the quarterfinals of Euro 2008, held in Austria and Switzerland.

They met again when they were put into the same group in qualifying for South Africa 2010. Croatia lost their home leg 4-1, and England won their home leg 5-1. England won the group and qualified, while Croatia were eliminated, finishing 3rd behind Ukraine. England would be eliminated in the Round of 16 at the World Cup.

England’s 5-1 win at home will be their last meeting until the upcoming semifinal, which will be the first meeting between the two teams at a World Cup. England enter as slight favourites.

England to Advance: 58.9%

Croatia to Advance: 41.1%


Croatia: A-

  • Will go up to A with a win by 4 or more goals
  • Will go down to B+ with a loss by 3 or more goals

England: A-

  • Will go up to A with a win
  • Will not go down even with a loss by 5 goals

This match will be the 9th biggest upset in World Cup history if Croatia wins by 5 goals.

Mika Ryu

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Mika Ryu
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