England have been handed a boost following the news that Croatia defender Sime Vrsaljko will miss their World Cup semi final through injury.
The Atlético Madrid defender was withdrawn from Croatia’s quarter final tie against Russia after 97 minutes last Saturday, having picked up a serious injury to his left knee.
Vrsaljko will now sit out of the semi final against England on Wednesday, according to Marca, which will be a huge blow for Croatia following his solid defensive displays in the right back slot over the course of the tournament.
Having played every game so far, Croatia will have to adjust to life without Vrsaljko and it could be a situation that Gareth Southgate and Steve Holland take advantage of in their preparations leading up to tonight’s game.
The absence of Vrsaljko could now leave Croatia’s right-hand side vulnerable, with Ashley Young, Dele Alli and Jesse Lingard more than capable of exposing a weakened back line.
It is expected that Croatia will shift centre-back Domagoj Vida into the right back slot, with former Tottenham defender Vedran Corluka slotting into the centre of defence alongside Dejan Lovren.
Marca report that more information regarding the extent of Vrsaljko’s injury will become clear on Monday. If the injury were to be serious, he could well miss the start of the 2018-19 La Liga season for Atlético Madrid.
Meanwhile, England midfielder Jordan Henderson is facing a race to be fit after picking up a hamstring injury in the Three Lions’ quarter final victory against Sweden.
Henderson was withdrawn after 85 minutes, replaced by like-minded midfielder Eric Dier as England saw out their victory to progress to the last four for the first time since 1990.