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World Cup player watch: One step away

By July 10, 2018No Comments

The first of the World Cup semi-finals is upon us, with either France or Belgium set to advance to the final when they meet on Tuesday evening.

England and Croatia’s fate will be decided 24 hours later when they face off in Moscow.

Here is what players from all four teams have been doing and saying ahead of their crunch clashes.

France

France last reached the World Cup final in 2006, suffering penalty-shootout heartache at the hands of Italy. However, it is not all doom-and-gloom for Les Bleus as they recorded victory on home soil in 1998.

And the players are eyeing the chance to win a second crown on Sunday.

#FRABEL 🇫🇷🇧🇪 💪🏼

A post shared by Nabil Fekir (@nabilfekir) on Jul 10, 2018 at 5:30am PDT

Belgium

Belgium are hoping to make history by reaching their first World Cup final, having made the semi-finals on one previous occasion in 1986 – finishing in fourth place overall.

However, the players are determined to rewrite the history books.

Eyes on the prize. @belgianreddevils #REDTOGETHER

A post shared by Michy Batshuayi (@mbatshuayi) on Jul 10, 2018 at 4:13am PDT

Croatia

Croatia have reached the last four on one occasion – in 1998 – and they have the chance to create national history with a maiden final appearance.

And Zlatko Dalic’s side seem relaxed ahead of the crunch match.

🙏🇭🇷

A post shared by 🤔 Super]Kralj[tata]BroZ 🤔 (@marcelo_brozovic) on Jul 10, 2018 at 6:08am PDT

Manager Dalic and defender Dejan Lovren faced the media after arriving in Moscow.

World Cup player watch: One step away PLZ Soccer
Dejan Lovren during the press conference at the Luzhniki Stadium (Aaron Chown/PA)

World Cup player watch: One step away PLZ Soccer
Croatia manager Zlatko Dalic during the press conference at the Luzhniki Stadium (Aaron Chown/PA)

England

This will be England’s third appearance at the semi-final stage of the World Cup and their first in 28 years. It was not to be in 1990 as the Three Lions fell to a shootout defeat to West Germany.

However, 1966 will spark belief that Gareth Southgate’s team can bring home their second World Cup title.

World Cup player watch: One step away PLZ Soccer
Harry Kane plays with a rubber chicken during an England training session (Owen Humphreys/PA)

The feared chicken 🐓👹 Good spirits in training this morning! #ready

A post shared by Ruben loftus-cheek (@rubey_lcheek) on Jul 10, 2018 at 3:32am PDT

World Cup player watch: One step away PLZ Soccer
England players play with a rubber chicken during a training session (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Goalkeeper Jack Butland had a secret message to the England fans as the goalkeepers trained in Repino before flying to Moscow…

World Cup player watch: One step away PLZ Soccer
England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford during the training session (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Jordan Henderson and Gareth Southgate met the media and had a look at the Luzhniki Stadium pitch.

World Cup player watch: One step away PLZ Soccer
Jordan Henderson speaks during the press conference at the Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow (Aaron Chown/PA)

World Cup player watch: One step away PLZ Soccer
England manager Gareth Southgate during the press conference at the Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow (Aaron Chown/PA)

World Cup player watch: One step away PLZ Soccer
England manager Gareth Southgate, left, and Jordan Henderson during the walkabout at the Luzhniki Stadium (Aaron Chown/PA)