Mario Mandzukic: Croatia have what it takes to surprise England keeper Pickford

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"We were lucky. I was concentrating throughout the match, but after that penalty, it came bursting out of me". They scored twice and were better.

"I've known Luka for a number of years, not only with the national team".

Croatia captain Luka Modric said his side showed character on Saturday to get through "another drama" after edging to a second straight shoot-out win to knock Russian Federation out of the World Cup and set up a semi-final with England.

The team and the country are riding a wave of adrenaline in matching the 1998 Croatian team and reaching the semis.

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"But we are looking forward to a different style of game against England because they like to play attacking football". At some point, that wave could crash.

When he recovered late in the season, Winks was not the same player and England were right to leave him at home due to lack of match fitness and sharpness. "But thank God we've shown our character".

"Of course, it's a pity that I've spent so little time on the pitch, but there are always injuries in football", Dzagoev said.

"1998 will never be forgotten and should not be, but I would love it if eventually the 1998 "Fiery Ones" can be moved aside so that we can talk not only about 1998 but also a bit about 2018", the former Real Madrid player said.

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Now it's time to get back to reality.

This tactic was turned on its head against Croatia, with Russian Federation going all out and scoring first but conceding two more before an equaliser deep in the second half of extra time reignited their hopes of a last four spot, the first since the Soviet Union's 1966 run. The unique elements of playing in Sochi with the combination of heat and humidity sapped energy from both teams, creating a fairly lethargic second half. "It turned out I didn't play much, it was hard to break into the team because they were playing great throughout the season and no coach would change a winning team, but it was a great experience".

It is not yet known whether Mandzukic will repeat his generous gesture but maybe we shouldn't bet against it.

It was a similar story in the round-of-16 against Denmark and, on the back of those two gruelling encounters, they now have just four days to prepare for an England side that beat Sweden in 90 minutes.

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