Dejan Lovren Discusses Harry Kane, England Ahead of Croatia World Cup Semi-Final

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistJuly 10, 2018

Liverpool's Croatian defender Dejan Lovren (L) vies with Tottenham Hotspur's English striker Harry Kane during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool at Wembley Stadium in London, on October 22, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / IKIMAGES / Ian KINGTON / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.  /         (Photo credit should read IAN KINGTON/AFP/Getty Images)
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Liverpool and Croatia centre-back Dejan Lovren has said he's looking forward to facing Tottenham Hotspur and England star Harry Kane when the two nations meet in the 2018 FIFA World Cup semi-final on Wednesday.

Per the Mirror's David McDonnell, the defender is well aware of the danger Kane and his team-mates present for Croatia's World Cup bid, but there is no fear in their ranks:

"He's one of the best strikers in the Premier League. He deserves every credit he gets. In the last few seasons he's always scored more than 25 goals and he's one of the best strikers in the world.

"But I like to challenge these strikers and to show to everyone that I'm one of the best defenders.


"We're not worried, no. We respect them, of course, and I think they respect us. 

"It's a game between two great teams and it will be a big challenge to see who is better."

SOCHI, RUSSIA - JULY 07:   Dejan Lovren of Croatia competes with Aleksandr Erokhin of Russia during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Quarter Final match between Russia and Croatia at Fisht Stadium on July 7, 2018 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Matthew Ashton -
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Lovren also said Croatia are the underdogs going into the match, and the penalty-shootout win over Russia in the quarter-finals gave his team an extra boost of confidence.

As noted by McDonnell, Lovren had limited success against Kane in the Premier League last season. There was the disastrous 4-1 meeting at Wembley in which he was substituted before the end of the first half, having given up two goals already, and Kane also got on the scoresheet in the rematch at Anfield.

The Croats are well aware of the threat Kane presents, but they are confident they can stop him:

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WATCH: Croatia manager Zlatko Dalic is confident his defenders are good enough to handle Harry Kane in Wednesday's World Cup semi-final. https://t.co/vz5jGZ87zp

Their bid to slow down the 24-year-old took a blow when it became clear Atletico Madrid full-back Sime Vrsaljko would miss out on the match due to injury, per MailOnline Sport. Vedran Corluka is expected to replace him, and the 32-year-old will likely have his hands full due to his lack of pace.

Kane didn't have his best outing in England's 2-0 win over Sweden, however, and scored five of his six World Cup goals against minnows Panama and Tunisia in the group stage. While he can strike at any time, he'll face arguably his toughest challenge yet on Wednesday.

Russia's forward Fedor Smolov (C) challenges Croatia's defender Dejan Lovren (R) and Croatia's defender Vedran Corluka during the Russia 2018 World Cup quarter-final football match between Russia and Croatia at the Fisht Stadium in Sochi on July 7, 2018.

Croatia haven't kept a clean sheet in their last three matches but did shut down the best attack they've faced so far, hitting Argentina hard in the group stages. The Albiceleste played right into their strengths―giving up space wide for counter-attacks―and like the Argentinians, England could have all kinds of trouble trying to mark Ivan Perisic and Ante Rebic.

If the Three Lions' full-backs are forced to track back more than usual to keep up with those two, it will be that much easier for Lovren and Co. to deal with Kane, with fewer crosses coming into the box.

They can't afford to lose focus for even a second, however, as Kane will punish any mistake―something Lovren knows all too well.