Croatia and England will do battle for a place in the 2018 World Cup final on Wednesday evening when they face off at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.
Croatia came into this World Cup boasting some of the most talented players at the tournament, but their recent record on the biggest stage left them quite far down the list of potential winners.
Since finishing third in 1998 – their first World Cup as an independent nation – Croatia have failed to make it past the group stages, and even missed out on qualification altogether in 2010.
However, the likes of Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic and Mario Mandzukic have finally come good this summer and, in what may be the trio’s final World Cup, they now stand on the brink of the greatest achievement in their nation’s footballing history.
While Croatia may not be able to match the World Cup pedigree of even England, their squad does boast significant experience and at club level they have won nine Champions League titles between them. England’s players, by contrast, have won just one.
On the other hand, World Cup fever has well and truly gripped England and fans, players and pundits alike will have been wishing for Wednesday night to come around from the moment the final whistle went in the quarter-final win over Sweden on Saturday.
The semi-final against Croatia will be the biggest match in English football for 28 years, since they last reached the semi-finals at Italia 1990. Indeed, some may argue that it is the biggest game since the 1966 final considering how the draw has opened up for them.