Zlatko Dalic's side go into Wednesday's World Cup semi-final knowing they have to improve after battling through two penalty shoot-outs in the knockout stages in Russia.
With Modric and Rakitic controlling the midfield, Croatia have had more possession than their opposition in four of five games at the World Cup.
But Tapalovic, who made three appearances for Croatia, believes they are more likely to try to counter against England.
"I like the style of England, how they play with the young players, how they move," he told Omnisport.
"Croatia play maybe a little bit slowly… they have good players but it's another style of play. They've scored two goals in every game [except against Denmark in the round of 16].
"England are very strong, they have very good individual players.
"Croatia, I think, will stay in a lower block and will try to find solutions on the counter-attack because they have very fast players with [Andrej] Kramaric, [Ante] Rebic and also [Mario] Mandzukic, who is a fighter, and also maybe with the individual brilliance from Modric and Rakitic.
"I think it will be a hard game for Croatia."