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Dejected England, Belgium aim to leave World Cup on a high

14 July, 2018, 04:56 | Author: Rachael Silva
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For English Fans, it was a song sung with gusto and patriotism, while for opposing fans, it was a song that supposedly showed disrespect and the only way to quiet the loud chants was to ensure that indeed, "England was going home".

"We were 20 minutes from a World Cup final - that is going to live with me forever, there is no doubt about that".

"It's enjoyable, we all love to play the game and fans love to support it".

"The players are incredible". They're a pleasure to work with.

Southgate is now the only Englishman to lose in the semi-final of a major tournament as both a manager and player.

When Modric is bogged down in midfield, it is Vrsaljko who will often shoulder the duty of carrying the ball past the midfield and it was one of his forays into the English half that allowed him to cross for Ivan Perisic to level.

For Croatia, a semi-final was twenty years in the making. "There's a culture that exists now that when we come together, we expect every new player to follow".

"It won't be exactly the same starting eleven, but we want ideally to make as few changes as possible". We've one or two injuries, one or two with a little bit of illness, so we just have to see.

"This may have given us extra motivation, but this is football, you have to be dignified in victory and in defeat".

"The cup feels so close we can nearly touch it but there is still a lot to do to get there". That was just extra motivation for us.

Croatia have been forced into extra time in each of their three knockout matches, edging Denmark and hosts Russian Federation on post-match penalties.

Roberto Martinez's side, who were beaten 1-0 by France in the last four, topped Group G ahead of England after an Adnan Januzaj goal settled a low-key encounter in Kaliningrad.

"He still sprints in the 115th minute, he tracks back, he leads the team, he is the man of the tournament", added the coach. "How can he help the team to progress?" The players can associate playing with England with enjoyment, fun and not being under siege and feeling everything is against them. If he had a different mindset, he'd have been insisting he played in the game. Football is about winning as a team.

"The reality is that none of us know if that's as good as it gets", Southgate answered. "I don't think realistically any of us did", he said. "Not even of the big bad wolf, really! There's nothing better, when people are writing you off and saying you're not fit to wear the shirt, slagging people off, it's kind of saying: Well there you go - have that back at you", he said.

Wednesday's audience peaked between 21:30-21:35 BST as England tried to find an equaliser at the end of extra time in the semi-final against Croatia. "It's the same as if you were at a big club".



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