Croatia reach final as England throw it away

12 July, 2018, 14:27 | Author: Dominic Spencer
  • Theo Walcott

For England, it was the chance to return to the final for the first time since its legendary 1966 victory; for Croatia, it was a chance at its first World Cup final ever.

In Zagreb, the capital, more than 10,000 people gathered in the central square to watch the match despite rainy weather.

He said: "All these words from them we take, we were reading and we were saying: 'OK, today we will see who will be exhausted.' They should be more humble and respect their opponents more".

"I think this was our best game".

"Tonight we weren't quite there but we will learn from that. We left everything out there".

"We have to be proud of what we've achieved".

"Players had run out of steam but that's partly their age - they're still physically maturing". In these big games, it comes down to small margins and it went their way in the end. For a young team, and a manager in Gareth Southgate, who have done so much to enhance their reputations, this was hopefully not... They've broken through a number of barriers in the past weeks'.


Croatia's Marcelo Brozovic celebrates (L) and England's Harry Kane looks dejected (R) after the World Cup Semi-Final match against England in Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Russia, July 11, 2018.

England boss Gareth Southgate - on the day that was dubbed Waistcoat Wednesday in his honour back home - named an unchanged side to face Croatia, while Zlatko Dalić surprisingly made just one change from the side that beat Russian Federation on penalties in the quarter-final, bringing in midfield Marcelo Brozović for striker Andrej Kramarić.

"He's captained the team brilliantly over the tournament and I can't ask for more from him".

More than 10,000 Croatian fans arrived in Moscow for a chance to see their nation in the World Cup semi-final and it was worth the trip as the nation created history.

'At the moment we all feel the pain of defeat. Did we expect to be in this position? "We made it to the finals, no one believed in us, every pundit out there was thinking England but we showed the world", another jubilant fan said.

"There will in time be a lot of positives to take", he added. "It's too easy to move on quickly".

But Southgate paid tribute to all of his players and staff, after a summer adventure which will remain long in the memory of all England fans and will continue on Saturday when they face Belgium in the third place game.

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