Dele Alli eager to take on Croatia's Modric

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"As players, we know that sometimes you can have games where your control isn't as good as it should be or your decision making isn't as sharp - and I felt like it was one of those games", he said. "I felt like my movement was good, but on the ball I wasn't sharp enough, I didn't keep it as much as I should have", he said.

"We are in the semi-final now and, as a team, we think we should be in the final".

England take on Croatia on Wednesday in what is the biggest worldwide football fixture for the nation in years, with a potential date with either France or Belgium in Sunday's final.

The penalty shootout win against hosts Russian Federation in the quarterfinals on Saturday seems to have gone a long way towards achieving that. But then MK Dons did not win. They are in the better half of the draw and we have a proper team, full of quality, full of experience.

Squares packed with red-and-white painted fans, stalls selling football jerseys and flares, drivers blaring their horns, people hugging and singing - scenes reminiscent of 1998 are all around as the country of around four million people lives and breathes football.

He also overcame missing a penalty in extra-time against Denmark, stepping up bravely minutes later to convert in a shoot-out.

During the group stage in Russian Federation, coach Zlatko Dalić said it was hard to compare generations when events were separated by a 20-year gap.

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And now, with England's biggest game in years on the horizon, Alli has directly tweeted fans to show his appreciation for what they've done throughout the World Cup (see below).

England seemed to have created a relaxed yet competitive atmosphere at their training base in Repino, and the darts and bowling competitions have continued as much as their on-field progression. We've been playing well, we're learning and we're all enjoying it.

Former worldwide Mario Stanić remembers perfectly the defeat to eventual winners France in the 1998 semifinal, although he would rather not. I don't know why, it's just a superstition.

"You want to hide and not come out of your room".

Bilic, who is a mentor to several of the present squad including Modric having nurtured their talent as Croatia's Under-21 handler before becoming head coach of the national side, added he is confident this team can go one better than he and his team-mates in 1998 and reach the final.

It is not as if Croatia are short of other talented midfielders, either.

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