Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic has said his side have already “managed to stop Messi” and so can cope with England’s Harry Kane in Wednesday’s semi-final.
The teams meet in Moscow to compete for a place in the 15 July final after Dalic’s side overcame hosts Russia on Saturday.
Dalic identified top-scorer Kane and Raheem Sterling as threats in a team with “no glaring weaknesses”.
“But we believe in our strengths,” he said. “We don’t fear England.”
“He [Kane] is top scorer – he’s not easy to stop. But we have top centre-backs. We managed to stop Messi and [Christian] Eriksen so hopefully we can stop Kane.”
Having not scored in an England shirt for nearly three years, Manchester City forward Sterling has been criticised by some supporters and pundits.
However, ex-England and Manchester United pair David Beckham and Gary Neville have voiced their support for the 23-year-old and Dalic also rates him highly.
The 51-year-old coach, who has only been in charge of the national side since October, was asked about England’s strengths and weaknesses and said: “I wouldn’t say there are any glaring weaknesses – they are in the semi-finals, that says it all.