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England’s Cup chance to end 52 years of hurt

THE wounds of England’s 1990 World Cup semi-final exit are 28 years old, but still devastatingly raw.Likewise, the mere mention of their heartbreaking 2-1 defeat to France in 1998 is enough to bring a tear to the eyes of Croatian fans.Truly, Thursday’s semi-final in Moscow is a chance for two success-starved nations to exorcise some World Cup demons.FOLLOW THE LIVE ACTION IN OUR LIVE BLOG AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGEPAIN: England, Croatia aiming to erase semi-final scars SUPERSTARS: Hard road to the top for Kane, ModricSACKED: Croatia in crisis as coach axed on eve of semiEngland’s Harry Kane is the tournament’s leading scorer. Pic: GettySource:Getty ImagesEngland, chasing their first World Cup final appearance since winning their only title on home soil in 1966, has been swept up in the emotion of their surprise charge to the final four, with the country’s fans losing their collective minds after the quarter-final triumph over Sweden.Their progression has been crafted under the watchful eye of coach Gareth Southgate, with the even-handed leadership of Harry Kane inspiring an underrated group to unexpected glories.

Croatia, meanwhile, have the creative genius of Luka Modric to fuel their campaign — but needed extra-time and penalties to dispose of host nation Russia in their quarter-final clash.Kick-off is at 4am (AEST) on Thursday in at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.FOLLOW ALL THE ACTION IN THE LIVE BLOG BELOWOriginally published as England’s Cup chance to end 52 years of hurt

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