Pride to fuel England's progress: Kane

MOSCOW • Harry Kane has insisted that England's ambitions will not be satisfied by a first appearance in a World Cup semi-final for 28 years and that "finishing the job" is the target in Russia.

Croatia await tomorrow in the last four and, while expectations from the outside have been realistic through much of this campaign, the England squad's faith in their own quality has been unwavering and Kane has made his aim clear.

"We feel proud - proud to have made the fans proud," said the striker, who remains two goals clear of Belgium's Romelu Lukaku in the race for the Golden Boot.

"That's what we wanted to do when we set out. We wanted to play good football, work hard, play with passion - and we have done that. So we are enjoying it.

"We can see the fans enjoying it here and back home and so we have just got to try and keep it going. Hopefully we can get to the final.

"It's been a long time since England have done well in a major tournament, and we've got a tough game coming up against Croatia, but we feel confident. Everyone wants to finish the job and go all the way."

While Kane should be one to fear for Croatia, with the England captain leading the scoring charts at this World Cup with six goals, Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic has instead identified Raheem Sterling as England's danger man.

Despite some disappointing early performances, the 23-year-old's speed was a constant threat to Sweden's defence in England's 2-0 quarter-final win on Saturday.

"I think Raheem Sterling is an important player because he is fast and dangerous alongside Harry Kane," the Croatia coach said at a press conference.

"They play very direct football, dangerous, fast and they are really good at set pieces, and dangerous at corner kicks."

Croatia emerged through extra-time and spot-kicks against Denmark in the last 16 before going through the same ordeal again against Russia in the quarter-finals.

After such tight matches, it is easy to forget that Croatia produced a feast of attacking play to destroy Argentina 3-0 in the group phase.

Dalic blamed Croatia's opponents for smothering the creative talents of Luka Modric and said he expected a more open match against England in Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium tomorrow.

"Our last three games were different because we played teams with a defensive approach," he said.

"But we are looking forward to a different style of game against England because they like to play attacking football."

THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 10, 2018, with the headline 'Pride to fuel England's progress: Kane'. Print Edition | Subscribe