England play their first World Cup final in a generation against Croatia on Wednesday.

Win and they will better the class of 1990, joining the winners of 1966 as the only other English side to reach the global showpiece.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at the key issues.

Will the pressure start to tell?

Pressure, what pressure? England have stayed relaxed by training with a rubber chickenPressure, what pressure? England have stayed relaxed by training with a rubber chicken (Owen Humphreys/PA)

One of the defining characteristics of England’s run in Russia has been their refusal to be shackled by past failures. The current generation offer respectful nods to their predecessors but little more – the penalty woes, the busted expectations and deflated dreams have thus far been kept where they belong: the past. But this is no ordinary game of football and no ordinary prize at the end. Can this youthful side continue their uncanny ability to play the opposition not the occasion?

Fatigue factor

Jordan Henderson is available for EnglandJordan Henderson is available for England (Adam Davy/PA)

By the time a tournament like this one reaches its final knockings few key men could truly claim to be at peak condition. Jordan Henderson, for example, has run himself to breaking point in midfield but appears to have shaken off concerns over his starting spot. England, though, could claim a physical advantage given Croatia have been taken to extra-time and penalties in each of their knockout games. England may have gone through the wringer against Colombia but while they had an unusually painless quarter-final win over Sweden, their opponents have gone to the hilt twice over.

Kane v Lovren

Dejan Lovren and Harry Kane have done battle beforeDejan Lovren and Harry Kane have done battle before (Adam Davy/PA)

It does not take a genius to mark Harry Kane’s card as a danger man in Moscow. He sits clear at the top of the golden boot standings yet still has more to give as a threat from open play. That he comes up against Croatia’s Dejan Lovren is particularly noteworthy given the Liverpool defender was substituted after just 31 minutes when the pair met in Premier League action last October. By that point Kane had scored one and set up another by torturing his marker who showed, according to Thierry Henry, “raw fear”. Will old scars be reopened or can the centre-half fashion a redemption story?

Battle of the middle men

Luke Modric has been one of the stars of the World CupLuke Modric has been one of the stars of the World Cup (Mike Egerton/PA)

In Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic, Croatia boast one of the classiest midfield duos in the world – drawn from the training fields of Real Madrid and Barcelona. England are not expected to rejig their team in response – likely ignoring the temptation to stiffen the base with Eric Dier. That means a heavy burden on Henderson, who must act as both defensive shield and quarter-back and a big emphasis on Dele Alli and Jesse Lingard to set the tempo. The pair were drawn into a more prosaic territorial battle by both Colombia and Sweden but are at their best when breaking at pace through the lines.

Sterling can star

Raheem Sterling is worth more than just goals to EnglandRaheem Sterling is worth more than just goals to England (Tim Goode/PA)

No England player has divided opinion in recent years quite like Raheem Sterling. England are four square behind their dynamic forward, valuing his aggressive intent and willingness to attack the box above all else. Yet some fans, many of whom see only what the television cameras allow, have become frustrated by a goal drought stretching back to October 2015. Sterling’s finishing has been disappointing but a player who gets into good positions as often as he does cannot be denied forever. If he can end his barren streak at the Luzhniki Stadium even his detractors might agree all is forgiven.