ENGLAND have named an unchanged side for their World Cup semi-final clash with Croatia.
Gareth Southgate has kept faith with the eleven who started last week’s victory over Sweden as the Three Lions look to seal a place in the final on Sunday.
England boss Southgate has decided the best way to overcome the threat posed by Croatia is to send his side out to attack and dominate the game.
That means Jordan Henderson plays as the lone defensive shield in the midfield, with the Dele Alli and Jesse Lingard ordered to set up putting the Croats on the back foot.
With their rivals having been forced to play extra-time in both their knock-out stage matches, England will be looking to force the pace at a high tempo.
That will see the midfield trio asked to pressure the the world class duo of Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic, denying them time on the ball to dictate proceedings.
And up top, Raheem Sterling will again be tasked with the responsibility of stretching the game with his pace and movement.
Though he squandered a couple of good opportunities in the quarter-final, Sterling’s trickery and direct running in behind was vital to the way England were able to control play.
And Southgate wants him to pull the Croatian defence around, creating space for Harry Kane, Lingard and Alli to exploit.
England’s threat at set pieces has been strong during the tournament, with both John Stones and Harry Maguire among the goals.
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The pair will again join Kyle Walker forming a three-man defensive line, with Kieran Trippier and Ashley Young providing the width as wing-backs.
Southgate has been boosted by the way Jamie Vardy has been declared fit to be on the bench after a groin problem forced him to miss the Sweden match.
It means Vardy and Marcus Rashford provide the attacking options if needed, with Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Danny Welbeck also able to come on.
Eric Dier is likely to be introduced as substitute if England are defending a lead going into the latter stages, slotting in alongside Henderson at the base of the midfield.
England: Pickford; Walker, Stones, Maguire; Trippier, Young; Henderson, Lingard, Alli; Sterling, Kane.