Five things that shock the World Cup

Russia vs Croatia: Quarter Final- 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

Croatia says"Yes! Getty Images

For a country like Croatia, with a population of little over four million, to be in the semi-finals of the World Cup is a remarkable achievement.

England beat Sweden to reach their first World Cup semi-final since 1990.

"This was not a lovely game, it was a fight, a battle for the semi-final", added Dalic, who broke down in tears after Croatia confirmed a first World Cup semi-final appearance since 1998.

Rakitic, meanwhile, is hoping this Croatia team can go a step further after matching the country's heroes of 1998 by making the Cup semi-finals for the second time.

And while Friday wasn't Brazil's day, Belgium shouldn't expect the same rust from France.

The last time these two sides met in a competitive fixture was close to a decade ago, with England thrashing their opponents 5-1 in a World Cup qualifier back in 2009.

Set pieces have been the main source of goals at the tournament in Russian Federation - 42 per cent, no less - and England has been the master of that department on its run to Wedneday's semi-final match against Croatia.

"I wouldn't say there are any glaring weaknesses (in England's team) since they are in the semi-finals, that says it all".

The Russians as hosts did not need to qualify for the World Cup and their ranking of 70 in the world was the lowest among all teams in Russia, even lower than worldwide football minnows Saudi Arabia.

MOSCOW, July 10 ― "We keep hearing the same question and we give out the same answer", said Croatia's Ivan Perisic last week. France have won four out of their five games at this summer's tournament without ever really convincing fans that they are playing as a fully cohesive unit, despite the wealth of stellar names in their squad.

The 31-year-old Lloris describes the Belgium lineup as "quite simply, the most complete side in the tournament, in all aspects of the game".

"There were times when we lacked energy: 240 minutes of football in six days takes its toll on you", said Modric who, like Mandzukic and Rakitic, is into his thirties.

The regular and the 30-minute overtime periods ended in a 2-2 draw.

France's main sports paper L'Equipe, on the other hand, changed the cover of Tintin's "Destination Moon" to feature former French World Cup winning captain Didier Deschamps and Olivier Giroud heading for a space-bound rocket guarded by Belgian players, including their goalie Thibaut Courtois, who has earned a name for himself in this edition.

When Croatia stormed through the group stage with nine points from three games, they did in indeed look like serious contenders.

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