Croatia now have the chance to win their first World Cup final when they face France in the final at 3am on Monday, NZ Time. "We probably needed that second goal [in the first half]". I thought they played well and made it hard for us. "We worked so hard, the fans were fantastic, it was a tough game, a 50-50 game, when we look back we will think there's stuff we could have done better".
"But we left everything out there".
Southgate said the players were deeply disappointed, but that the young team could achieve great things in the years to come, with the European Championship just two years away. "We have to be proud". Croatia have hardened warriors whose understanding of big matches at times came to the fore.
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Talk about the potential rule loophole started after Portugal's Jose Fonte strangely chose to stay in the field of play while the rest of his team celebrated Cristiano Ronaldo's equaliser against Spain off the pitch.
Modric will feature in a midfield that consists of the likes of Barcelona's Ivan Rakitic, while Mario Mandzukic, Ivan Perisic, Mateo Kovacic and Dejan Lovren are just some of the names in a Croatian team expected to be England's toughest test yet.
When the final whistle blew and they knew they were going to their first World Cup final, the Croatians ran to their jumping and cheering fans in their iconic red-and-white checkered jerseys.
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. "And I don't think after the six or seven weeks we have been together, that we could have given more".
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"He's captained the team brilliantly over the tournament and I can't ask for more from him".
- England have now been eliminated in four of their five semi-finals at major tournaments, losing each of the last four in a row.
'At the moment we all feel the pain of defeat. Did we expect to be in this position?
"We deserved the victory", said match-winner Mandzukic.
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Mandzukic's movement was also a constant challenge for England's back three and John Stones, in particular, did not look as composed as he has done in previous games.