WHEN you think it couldn’t get any better for England at the World Cup, it emerges that the camp of their semi-final opponents Croatia is engulfed in a national scandal.

It involves star player and captain Luka Modric, the country’s President Kolinda Grabar-Kitavoric and the notoriously corrupt footballing authorities in Croatia.

But first the really good news - in case you hadn’t noticed, England are in the semi-finals of the World Cup for the third time in their history. Prime Minister Theresa May is ready to announce that every citizen in the UK – especially Scotland – is to be forced to watch Wednesday’s match between England and Croatia to take our minds off Brexit. Actually we made that bit up, but these days you never know ...

Enforced watching is hardly necessary – on a Saturday afternoon, a time when television viewing figures are normally down, some 20 million people tuned in to see England’s comfortable 2-0 win over Sweden.

Much has been made of the youth of the team but it is also noticeable that post-Brexit, very little is being made of the fact that the England squad is replete with the children and grandchildren of immigrants - even captain Harry Kane is the son of an Irish immigrant, Pat from Galway.

Gareth Southgate, England’s impressive young manager, has said the diversity of the squad members’ various background is one of its strengths.

With neither Brazil, Argentina and Germany appearing in the semi-finals for the first time ever, it falls to Croatia to stop England’s advance to the final in Moscow next Sunday at 4pm.

This is where England may have gotten a bit of luck. Before the tournament started, it was announced Luka Modric – also a midfielder for Real Madrid – would face trial for perjury as soon as the Cup is over.

His performances in their five matches so far have been impeccable, but everyone in Croatia knows what is hanging over him following his testimony in a corruption trial. Modric allegedly gave false evidence in the trial of Zdravko Mamic, former chief of Dinamo Zagreb who was jailed for six years for taking £2 million in fees connected to transfers.

There was a tacit agreement in the Croatian and international press to downplay Modric’s problems but no longer, thanks to the country’s president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, who couldn’t restrain herself and ran into the team’s dressing room after their match against Denmark. She gave a particularly long and warm hug to captain Modric, and that’s when the trouble started. The guilty Mamic was one of her big financial backers and he has often described her as a personal friend.

Now Mamic has absconded to Bosnia-Herzegovina which has no extradition treaty with Croatia. The President’s gesture of support for Modric – she posted the video on her own social media – is being seen as divisive in a country where many want the corruption and flag-waving of politicians and football bosses alike to end.

Modric and his Croatian colleagues showed no ill-effects of the growing scandal in eliminating hosts Russia on Saturday, but now the English press have the story. Enough said.