Mateo Kovacic insists 2018 World Cup semi-final has no bearing on England opener

a group of football players posing for a picture: Mateo Kovacic celebrates winning the Champions League with Chelsea - PA Wire © PA Wire Mateo Kovacic celebrates winning the Champions League with Chelsea - PA Wire

Mateo Kovacic does not believe Croatia’s World Cup semi-final win will give them a psychological advantage against an England side that the Chelsea midfielder says are dealing with the weight of expectation.

Three years ago the Blues midfielder helped break English hearts as Zlatko Dalic’s Vatreni dug deep to secure a 2-1 comeback win in extra time to progress to the final against France at the Luzhniki.

There remains a sense of ‘what if’ around England’s remarkable run in Russia, which has increased hope ahead of a European Championship that Gareth Southgate’s men have the chance to begin and end at Wembley.

Croatia kick off Group D under the arch and Chelsea midfielder Kovacic – the only Premier League player in their squad – knows a tough afternoon lies in wait.

a man holding a football ball on a field: England lost the World Cup semi-final to Croatia in 2018 (PA Archive) © Provided by The Independent England lost the World Cup semi-final to Croatia in 2018 (PA Archive)

“We know England have young, fast and agile players,” he said. “Their fans are also expecting a lot from them. It will be difficult for us.


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Mateo Kovacic insists 2018 World Cup semi-final has no bearing on England opener