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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Croatia takes on England in 2nd Semis of FIFA 2018

Tomislav  was its first King.   He became Duke  in c. 910, was elevated to kingship by 925 and reigned until 928. At the time of his rule, this place  forged an alliance with the Byzantines during their struggle with the Bulgarian Empire, with whom it eventually went to war that culminated in the decisive Battle of the Bosnian Highlands in 926.

Excitement has reached fever pitch across England today as fans rush home to watch the national side take on Croatia in the World Cup semi-final. Millions are hoping to see history made with England on the cusp of their second-ever World Cup final if they can win in Moscow.  The country is expected to come to a stand-still and queues have already started building up outside bars and pubs in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and other major cities and towns. The  nation is on tenterhooks with so much at stake in the match, the winner of which will face France on Sunday.

Although there were plenty of songs and chants heard around the country before kick-off, there were also nervous smiles and faces as the reality of the situation dawned on people. Fans have already started arriving at Hyde Park where 30,000 people will watch the match together and big screens are also up and running across London, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Leeds, Bristol and Brighton.  Offices and landmarks were turned into giant crosses of St George and staff wore their England shirts while schoolchildren swapped hymns for renditions of 'Three Lions' and giddy students danced on the chairs and desks in excitement.

        World Cup fever has taken complete control of the country, which will come to a standstill tonight as 30million people tune in to watch Harry Kane 's heroes take on Croatia in the semi-final.Many took to social media as they celebrated leaving work hours early and heading to the pub for a drink to calm their already frayed nerves. Millions knocking off early is set to cause chaos on the roads and railways with rush hour starting at 2pm instead of 4pm and peaking at around 5pm.

Edmund King, president of the AA, said: 'Historically, the biggest TV events and quietest roads in the UK were during the World Cup final in 1966 followed by the funeral of Diana, Apollo 13, royal weddings and Muhammad Ali's 'Rumble in the Jungle'. This game will join the list'.

The last time England were in the semisin 1990, no-one was chanting "football's coming home" in the streets. That's because the song wouldn't come out for another six years. The team's official World Cup song was New Order's World in Motion - one of the few football songs to stand the test of time. It's now most famous for one thing: England midfielder John Barnes wrote and performed his own rap in the song.  Germany was two countries the last time England played in a semi-final (and this Wednesday's opponents Croatia didn't even exist as a country).

So it was West Germany who lined up against England on that night in Turin in 1990. The wizardry of England's brightest talent - 23-year-old Paul Gascoigne - had helped spur the team to the semi-finals, sparking Gazzamania around the country. But, with the match at 1-1 after 90 minutes, legs were tired and Gazza got booked for a late tackle in extra time - his second yellow of the tournament. His bottom lip started to wobble. If England were to make it to the final, he would be suspended.

FIFA 1990  was won by West Germany, their third World Cup title. They beat Argentina 1–0 at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, a rematch of the previous final four years earlier. Italy finished third and England fourth, after both lost their semi-finals in penalty shootouts. This was the last tournament to feature a team from the divided Germany, with the country being reunified later in 1990, as well as teams from the Eastern Bloc prior to the end of the Cold War in 1991, as the Soviet Union, Romania, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia teams made appearances.

Tomislav  was the  first King of Croatia, officially the Republic of Croatia, on the Adriatic Sea. Its capital is Zagreb.  The Croats reportedly arrived in the area in the 6th century and organised the territory into two duchies by the 9th century. Tomislav became the first king by 925, elevating Croatia to the status of a kingdom, which retained its sovereignty for nearly two centuries.  In October 1918, in the final days of World War I, the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs, independent from Austria-Hungary, was proclaimed in Zagreb, and in December 1918 it was merged into the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. Following the Axis invasion of Yugoslavia in April 1941, most of the Croatian territory was incorporated into the Nazi-backed client-state which led to the development of a resistance movement and the creation of the Federal State of Croatia which after the war become a founding member and a federal constituent of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. On 25 June 1991, Croatia declared independence, which came wholly into effect on 8 October of the same year. The Croatian War of Independence was fought successfully for four years following the declaration.

Thus when England played in semifinals of FIFA, Croatia had not been born.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
11th July 2018.

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