Mateo Kovacic says the 2018 World Cup semi-final will have no impact on England’s first game.
Mateo Kovacic believes Croatia’s World Cup semi-final victory will not provide them a psychological advantage against an England team that, according to the Chelsea midfielder, is coping with the pressure of expectation.
Three years ago, the Blues midfielder assisted in breaking English hearts as Zlatko Dalic’s Vatreni came from behind to win a 2-1 comeback win in extra time to get to the Luzhniki final against France.
There’s still a sense of ‘what if’ surrounding England’s incredible run in Russia, which has boosted optimism ahead of a European Championship that Gareth Southgate’s side may start and finish at Wembley.
Croatia begins Group D beneath the arch, and Chelsea midfielder Mateo Kovacic, the sole Premier League player in the group, knows it will be a difficult afternoon.
He stated, “We know England has youthful, fast, and nimble players.” “Their fans have high expectations of them as well. It will be challenging for us.
“I wished my English teammates luck, and they reciprocated, but everyone will be battling for his or her own squad.
When asked if the 2018 semi-final victory over England provided a psychological boost, Kovacic responded, “I don’t think so.” It’s been three years since we last spoke.
“This is their first match of the tournament, and they are focused on it.”
Since the Luzhniki, England and Croatia have played twice, with Southgate’s side drawing 0-0 in Rijeka just months after the semi-final and then overcoming them 2-1 at Wembley to win their Nations League pool.
An increase in midfield choices will help the Three Lions’ chances at Euro 2020, and Kovacic, fresh off a Champions League victory with Chelsea, is ready to fight.
“There will be a tussle in the midfield,” he remarked, “but we are prepared.”
“We are putting in a lot of effort for each match and will give it our all. Because it’s such a major competition, I’m sure a lot is expected of us.”