Croatia defender Vedran Corluka reckons that the influence of Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has played a role in England’s reaching the World Cup semi-final for the first time in 28 years.
The Lokomotiv Moscow defender previously played in the Premier League for Man City and Spurs, and he may just have a point as Guardiola was the manager of Barcelona when Spain won football’s biggest prize in 2010 and then in 2014 he was the coach of Bayern Munich when Germany triumphed in Brazil.
Croatia will face England in the semi-final on Wednesday night, with the winner set to face either Belgium or France in the World Cup final in Moscow next Sunday.
“You can see that the style of England is a little bit like Manchester City,” said Corluka in the post match conference after his sides penalty shoot out victory over host nation Russia.
“Especially John Stones, who is always on the ball. So hopefully it will be a great game for the fans and hopefully it will be like more like Wembley in 2007 [when Croatia won 3-2]. More like that please!
“It’s a game that we will both want to win. We will both want to have the possession.
“It’s not just another game. We watched England in all their games and they play really well. They are confident and have a young team.
“Before they didn’t have any pressure. You just said to them: ‘Just do what you can’ but now even you [the media] are hoping that it can come home, yeah?
“We’ve never won it so we can’t say the same thing. But you have a great team and it will be a really difficult team.”