Crowds in Moscow make Qatar rethink 2022 World Cup plans

Henry Romero  Reuters

There's no way they couldn't be after ousting Denmark on penalties in the round of 16, then being forced to extra time again by host Russian Federation on Saturday night.

Despite their last two matches going the distance, Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic insists his team will have plenty in the tank for the battle with England. "We have two matches to play, we are very motivated, we will give our all".

In 1998, Croatia, which had emerged from a bitter independence war only three years earlier, made its debut at a World Cup finals. They drank while they partied, singing songs and taking pictures with visiting fans from other countries.

"It's an adventure", said McNulty. "I went to Rakitic for advice and he told me just to pick a side and not change it".

Belgium held their final training session before the crunch semi-final at their Moscow Country Club base before making the journey to St Peterburg.

The host nation was knocked out of the World Cup at the quarterfinal stage via a penalty shootout with Croatia which ended in favour of Blazers.

He also converted a penalty in normal time in the last-16 win over Colombia.

Didier Deschamps' side didn't look entirely convincing in their first two group games in Russian Federation, making hard work of Australia and Peru, but World Cups with a possible 7 games in four weeks are all about evolving and growing as a team in a short span of time.

"But we've been a real team and we have got some excellent players, no doubt about that, but the collective strength has been massive". Croatia, known for its rough play on the field, will have to compete with England which has been playing aas a unit and is buoyed by the terrific progress the side has made in this tournament.

"This looks like a nation with a newfound sense of footballing confidence - and expectations for the future", said Challands.

"They are our heroes, our inspiration, they brought us to this point".

England fans are confident they are closer than ever to regaining the World Cup.

Cherchesov said Russian President Vladimir Putin had called him before the match and after.

Immediately after his penalty went in Rakitic was mobbed by his team-mates - in repeat scenes of Croatia's last-16 shootout victory over Denmark. "We have all of the requisites for that - we have a great team, backroom staff, coach, and I hope we will be able to make that extra step to reach the final". "But now we are collecting those debts in this World Cup".

Many on the team were impressive during the tournament, however, and could now demand vastly improved salaries, including Dzyuba, creative midfielder Alexander Golovin and fullback Mario Fernandes.

"We do not want to stop, we will try to play our best game".

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