World Cup 2018: Live-Stream Schedule for Final Semi-Final Matchup

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistJuly 11, 2018

England's forward Harry Kane (R) drives a ball past England's forward Raheem Sterling during the warm-up before the Russia 2018 World Cup quarter-final football match between Sweden and England at the Samara Arena in Samara on July 7, 2018. (Photo by EMMANUEL DUNAND / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - NO MOBILE PUSH ALERTS/DOWNLOADS        (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)
EMMANUEL DUNAND/Getty Images

England can reach a first final since 1966 by beating Croatia in the second semi-final of the 2018 FIFA World Cup on Wednesday. Opponents Croatia will be looking to improve on their march to the last four in 1998 by upsetting the Three Lions at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.

The Vatreni will win if they keep England strike duo Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling at bay. Meanwhile, controlling Croatia pass-master Luka Modric will be key for Gareth Southgate's team.

            

Date: Wednesday, July 11

Time: 9 p.m. local time (7 p.m. BST/2 p.m. ET)

TV Info: ITV 1/Fox

Live Stream: ITV Hub, Fox Soccer MatchPass, fuboTV

          

In terms of team news, England are at full strength, according to the Telegraph's Nick Friend. However, the article also pointed out how goalkeeper Danijel Subasic and defender Sime Vrsaljko are fitness doubts for Croatia.

Being without Subasic would be a major blow for the Vatreni, since the 33-year-old has been a hero in his country's march to the final. He made big saves during penalty-shootout wins over Denmark and hosts Russia:

Trying to prevent Kane from adding to his tournament-leading tally of six goals would be tough for any team, but particularly one with a weakened defence. The Tottenham Hotspur man's ability to lead the line dovetails brilliantly with Sterling's pace and his flair for getting in behind.

England can use width and a direct game to get the ball quickly to their two best attackers. By contrast, Croatia will build through steady and stylish possession.

Most of it flows through Modric, who continues to be the creative hub for his nation. The Real Madrid man is so important to the team, and BBC Sport's Jermaine Jenas summed up what makes him such a special talent:

"The things that make Modric such a threat to England on Wednesday are not just his vision, the fact he is a two-footed player, or his low centre of gravity and balance.

"Yes, the way he uses his body when he is on the ball plays a big part in making him the fantastic footballer he is, but so does his personality."

Modric and Kane will be the stars for their respective nations.
Modric and Kane will be the stars for their respective nations.ADRIAN DENNIS/Getty Images

Shackling Modric will demand getting numbers around him. The Three Lions may not be able to deploy a man-marker since they only carry two central midfielders in their 3-4-1-2 formation.

Even so, it will be vital for Jesse Lingard to help Jordan Henderson or Dele Alli double up on the 32-year-old. Alternatively, Southgate could sacrifice Alli or Lingard for Eric Dier to increase the physicality in England's midfield.

If Modric can't dictate the play, England's pace and power up top will prove decisive.

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