Croatia booked their place in the World Cup final with a dramatic extra-time victory over England on Wednesday.
The Three Lions were given the perfect start through Kieran Trippier’s 20-yard free-kick after only five minutes, but Ivan Perisic’s 68th-minute equaliser sent the match into extra-time.
Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic scored the winning goal in the 109th minute of the semi-final, slotting in from Perisic’s flick-on into the area.
England blow big chance
England gave themselves a golden opportunity to reach the final, but they ultimately came up short against Croatia.
Gareth Southgate’s side failed to add to Trippier’s early strike and their opponents eventually made them pay.
Despite the result, the England boss believes his team have performed with credit in Russia.
“At the moment we all feel the pain of defeat,” he said.
“I don’t think realistically we expected to be here, but once you’re here and played as well as we did, you want to take those opportunities in life.
“The dressing room is a difficult place at the moment.
“I’m remarkably proud of the group of players – the reaction of the supporters compared to two years ago shows the country are proud of the way we played.
“There will in time be lots of positives to take, but it’s too hard and too soon to put that in context.
“You have to suffer the result first sometimes. I’m hugely proud of what we’ve done – I couldn’t have asked for any more.
“They’ve broken through a number of barriers in the past weeks.”
Read More: England Squad, Profile, Prediction.
Modric hits back at pundits
Croatia captain Luka Modric believes his team were “underestimated” by English pundits who lacked respect.
Modric said Croatia had been motivated by people saying they would be “tired” after their previous two matches went to penalty shoot-outs
“We showed again we were not tired,” he said. “We dominated the game physically, mentally, in all aspects.
“English journalists, pundits from television, they underestimated Croatia and that was a huge mistake. They should be more humble and respect more opponents.
“All these words from them we take, we were reading and we were saying, ‘OK, today we will see who will be tired’.
“It is the biggest success in Croatian history in sport and we have to be proud.”
Read More: Croatia Squad, Profile, Prediction.
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