Croatia player ratings as Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic lead side into World Cup semi-final

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Croatia have reached the semi-finals after another nervy win.

Croatia are headed to the World Cup semi-final after winning a penalty shootout for the second straight round, this time to knock out hosts Russia after the game finished 2-2 after extra time.

Almost to a man, Croatia’s players performed admirably to match the efforts of their famous side from 1998, which reached the same stage.

Here’s a look at how the players rated.

STARTING XI

Danijel Subasic 7 – Left looking statuesque for Russia’s first goal, although it was a wonderful strike from Cheryshev. Made some crucial saves throughout the match, including one in the penalty shootout.

Sime Vrsaljko 7 – A battling display from Croatia’s right back, who was always in the thick of the action.

Dejan Lovren 5 – A shaky and occasionally error-strewn performance from the Liverpool man who has had such a good World Cup.

Domagoj Vida 7 – He was left looking a little silly for Cheryshev’s goal, but redeemed himself by scoring Croatia’s second, and then converting his penalty in the shootout.

Ivan Strinic 6 – Was given a tough evening by Cheryshev and Dzyuba, and though he just about held his own it wasn’t a surprise when he was the first man taken off.

Luka Modric 8 – It’s saying something that a player who was already considered one of the best in the world at his position has enhanced his reputation this summer. His play in midfield was delightful.

Ivan Rakitic 7 – The Barcelona man’s reverence for his midfield partner Modric almost sells himself short. He might not be quite as good, but this was another accomplished performance, including stroking home the winning penalty.

Ante Rebic 6 – Didn’t quite scale the same heights of previous games in the tournament. His impact here was more as a willing, tireless runner than to produce anything spectacular.

Andrej Kramaric 8 – A performance that typifies what Kramaric brings to the table. At one moment he was scoring a crucial equaliser, at another he was back clearing the ball in his own box.

Ivan Perisic 6 – The Croatia winger delivered a typical workhorse performance. However, he missed a glorious opportunity to win the game in normal time, hitting the post with the goal open.

Mario Mandzukic 8 – As always, led the line with aplomb, serving as a bruising presence and delivering the assist for Croatia’s equaliser with a clever run and pass.

SUBSTITUTES

Marcelo Brozovic 7 – May have been a little miffed to miss out on a starting berth, but he shook off the disappointment to produce a composed display after coming on.

Josip Pivaric 6 – A stable presence after coming on at left-back for Croatia, instantly getting up to speed in an intense game.

Mateo Kovacic 6 – Kovacic hasn’t had enough chances to show the flashes of talent that have marked out his potential, and here, he fluffed his lines in the penalty shoot-out.

Vedran Corluka 7 – Made sure Croatia’s back-line didn’t miss a beat even after losing a player as crucial as Vrsaljko in extra time.

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England boss Gareth Southgate hails Harry Maguire’s World Cup impact

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Gareth Southgate hailed Harry Maguire as a “giant in both boxes” after seeing the defender repay the faith that he could deliver at the highest level.

Maguire has quickly established himself as a cornerstone of the English cause in Russia, turning in assured performances at the back and proving himself a menace in the opposition box.

Most of his best work at corners and set-pieces has been in service of others but the 25-year-old grabbed his own moment in the spotlight in Samara – leaping to power home England’s opener in the 2-0 win over Sweden.

Nobody has yet managed to find an answer to the Leicester man’s aerial prowess, much to the delight of his Three Lions boss.

“Maguire has been a giant in both boxes right throughout the tournament,” said Southgate.

“He’s getting his bonce on everything, isn’t he? We’ve scored set-play goals because of him up to this point and today he’s got the one he deserved.”

While Southgate has been a steady champion of Maguire – selecting him ahead of more decorated options such as Gary Cahill and Phil Jones – he is not convinced the centre-half always shared his confidence.

His performance on debut against Lithuania, the final game of England’s World Cup qualifying campaign, was a modest one but Southgate gently pushed him to aim higher.

He recalled: “His first game…he talked about just being desperate not to make a mistake.

“I remember saying to him before the next game ‘OK, how about now we try and be as good as we might be?’ because I think he’s a super-talented player.

“When I was watching him during the season, I was so keen that he stayed fit because this was a stage that I was certain he could show he could play at. I’m not sure he’s always believed that.

“His use of the ball is as good as any centre-back in the tournament. Hopefully he’s gaining belief from the performances at this level.”

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Sweden fail to reproduce heroics as players fall short in World Cup quarter-final defeat to England

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Sweden couldn't produce one last heroic performance.

Sweden’s swashbuckling World Cup run has come to an end after they lost 2-0 to England in Saturday’s quarter-final.

Some of the usual fighting spirit seemed to be lacking from Sweden’s players, who couldn’t reproduce their heroics with a semi-final berth on the line.

Here’s a look at how the players rated.

SWEDEN

Robin Olsen  5 – Olsen could have done better for both of England’s goals, even if they were powerful headers. A shaky display all-around.

Emil Krafth 5 – Looked completely at sea for England’s second goal, losing Dele Alli behind him. Sweden missed regular right-back Mikael Lustig in this game.

Victor Lindelof 6 – A disappointing end to an excellent tournament from the young Manchester United defender. Wasn’t at fault for either goal, but he’ll wonder if he could do better.

Andreas Granqvist 7 – The nature of England’s goals will grate on Sweden’s captain, as he saw his side concede from a corner and a cross. There wasn’t much he could have done in either case.

Ludwig Augustinsson 5 – Lingard and Sterling gave him a horrid time at left-back as he couldn’t handle the young England duo’s pace. The free-kick he blazed over towards the end was emblematic of his display.

Viktor Claesson 6 – Was solid but unspectacular on Sweden’s right flank, helping out defensively but not doing much from an attacking perspective.

Sebastian Larsson 5 – The veteran will be disappointed not to have had more of an impact. His passing wasn’t up to scratch and he rarely got into position to use his crossing to good effect.

Albin Ekdal 6 – Helped Sweden’s midfield retain some measure of shape but his lack of pace compared to some of England’s runners was shown up multiple times.

Emil Forsberg 5 – Perhaps the most shocking thing about Sweden’s chief creator being withdrawn with his side chasing two goals was that it was completely merited. A meek display.

Marcus Berg 7 – Another lively display from the forward, but his miserable World Cup continued as he saw chance after chance denied by England keeper Jordan Pickford.

Ola Toivonen 6 – A workmanlike performance but the striker posed little threat to England’s defence. Between him and Berg, Sweden were let down by their midfielders on the day.

SUBSTITUTES

Martin Olsson 6 – Was sent on when his side were already two goals down, leaving him in a difficult position to have a telling impact.

John Guidetti 6 – He was Sweden’s best striker in the game – not saying much. With only 25 minutes to make an impact while chasing two goals, it was a hill too high for Guidetti to climb.

Pontus Jansson 6 – Came on with barely any time left, with Sweden hoping for a miracle by then.

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