England will face Croatia on Wednesday night for a place in the 2018 World Cup final in Russia, with Gareth Southgate’s men now just two wins away from the ultimate glory.
It’s been some time since either side made it this far, with Croatia last reaching the last four in 1998 in France, while England will have to go further back to Italia ’90.
In turn, tensions, nervousness and desire will all play a significant factor, with both sides boasting plenty of quality through their respective squads.
With that in mind, it could come down to a mental edge that either side could take from previous meetings, but given how close the head-to-head record is, both will likely take confidence from it.
England have certainly got the better of Croatia in their most recent meetings, beating them 4-1 and 5-1 in the World Cup 2010 qualifying campaign.
Prior to that though, it was Croatia who came out on top in the Euro 2008 qualifiers, beating England home and away with that now infamous win at Wembley standing out in the memory as Steve McClaren’s tenure ended in huge disappointment.
However, it has been some time since these two sides clashed in competitive football, and with an entirely new set of players on either side of the pitch, the past record arguably can’t tell us too much.
From Croatia’s resilience and nerve in penalty shoot-outs to England emerging as a huge threat from set-pieces, there are so many fascinating sub-plots in this one and it remains to be seen who prevails to advance to the World Cup final on July 15.
April 24, 1996 – England 0-0 Croatia (Friendly)
August 20, 2003 – England 3-1 Croatia (Friendly)
June 21, 2004 – England 4-2 Croatia (Euro 2004)
October 11, 2006 – England 0-2 Croatia (Euro 2008 qualifier)
November 21, 2007 – England 2-3 Croatia (Euro 2008 qualifier)
September 10, 2008 – England 4-1 Croatia (World Cup 2010 qualifier)
September 9, 2009 – England 5-1 Croatia (World Cup 2010 qualifier)