Deschamps hails French character after semi-final win

Ivan Rakitic celebrates after his penalty beat Russia and set up a semi-final against England

Tomorrow's World Cup semi-final clash will be the first one England have featured in since Sir Bobby Robson led the Three Lions to a gallant penalty shootout defeat to West Germany in 1990. And after Brazil and Uruguay were dumped out in the quarter-finals, the semi-final action is a totally European affair. "When I went back to Tottenham, they were telling me they'd watched the game and I was just thinking, "Oh no". By no means are they assured a spot, as world No. 7 France, who oddsmakers are favouring, stand in their way.

Southgate's team play Croatia in the semi-final in Moscow on Wednesday.

Bilic believes a constant theme in Croatian national sides is they up their game against the historically bigger sides, thus their low key performances against Denmark and Russian Federation, beating both on penalties, should be disregarded.

A World Cup champion will be crowned on Sunday.

To top it off, the most important games are yet to be played.

England did not have an overly hard route to the semi-final but they have overcome every obstacle they faced with some solid performances. England also needed penalties to overcome Colombia in the round of 16. If we had to play two big teams in close succession, that's very hard.

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"I don't know to what extent you see the level of celebrations in Croatia". "There were so many big-quality teams and they are home by now".

Journalists packed into a hopelessly overcrowded room to hear Mandzukic insist all players were raring to go despite the strenuous past two games and that the pressure had now even eased.

"Croatia has great players playing at the greatest clubs, but it is true we have not had good results at major tournament for decades", the coach said on Tuesday.

The two teams will play each other at the St. Petersburg Stadium, with the kick-off due at 4:00am AEST on Wednesday morning.

"We respect every opponent but there is no fear from our side".

Lady Elsie, who has been greatly enjoying watching the World Cup herself, is well known for fronting the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, a charity dedicated to finding more effective ways to detect and treat cancer.

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