Russian Federation and Croatia Take World Cup Spotlight

Russia scored one of the biggest shocks in recent World Cup history by beating Spain in the last 16

The worrying thought about what we will do with ourselves once it is over can wait, because two well-matched semi-finals await.

With the exception of Villarreal midfielder Denis Cheryshev and Club Brugge goalkeeper Vladimir Gabulov, all members of Russia's 23-man squad play in their struggling domestic league.

The charismatic 49-year-old - who is in Russian Federation as a TV pundit for English broadcaster ITV - told the Daily Mail that Luka Modric and fellow superstar Ivan Rakitic will pose problems for England they have not encountered thus far in their World Cup semi-final tomorrow morning (Singapore time).

"That's it. There's no point watching the World Cup anymore", a woman identifying herself only as Vasilisa from Samara, one of the host cities for the World Cup, tweeted soon after Russian Federation crashed out.

France took full advantage of an Edinson Cavani-less Uruguay, before tournament favourites Brazil were put to the sword by Belgium's incisive counter-attacking in a thrilling game in Kazan.

The coolness displayed by the Real Madrid playmaker in the last-16 tie against the Danes was particularly impressive - having missed a penalty late in extra time, he still stepped up to score another spot-kick only a few minutes later.

World Cup glory beckons for Croatian stars such as Luka Modric after several traumatic experiences at major tournaments, says their former coach Slaven Bilic.

Dalic, who enjoyed a solid but unspectacular career as a midfielder in Croatia, was given the national job a year ago after success as a coach in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

England have potential for much more, says proud Gareth Southgate
The Three Lions once again scored from a dead ball situation, their eighth set-piece goal of this World Cup . Rafa Benitez says England have a "great chance" of winning the World Cup for the first time since 1966.

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Tips and predictions for Croatia vs England
But he is already experimenting with different options. "[Croatia] will be tough but I think we're going to get through". The manner of that performance instantly won over the home crowd and gave them a reason to cheer their team.

It has seen widespread apathy towards the Three Lions replaced by excitement and renewed hope, with previously unheralded players stepping up and better-known names underlining their quality and in some cases changing perceptions.

Apart from the experience of 103 worldwide appearances, Lloris has a few other things going his way when he's trying to stop them - including the fact he's faced numerous Belgians already while playing for Tottenham in the Premier League.

The coach, however, will have to wait and see if defender Sime Vrsaljko, who played in four of their five games, will be fit for the match after picking up a knee injury.

Croatia manager Zlatko Dalic has claimed that nobody should be surprised at his side reaching the semi-finals of the World Cup.

"We trusted ourselves. We could only prove our worth by working hard", Cherchesov said.

The Telegraph reports that both FIFA, the worldwide football governing body, and Russia have refused to state the number of drug tests the Russian players completed prior to the World Cup. I could be with my parents, eating and drinking and watching the game on TV.

Balkan Insight reports on widespread outrage against the Croatian Football Federation for allowing corruption to thrive in the sport. I asked him and he said he was OK, it did not affect him much.

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