Tuesday, 17 July, 2018

Croatian footballers mobbed the photographers' pit after beating England last night

Sol Campbell shows the pain of England's Euro 2008 qualification failure Sol Campbell shows the pain of England's Euro 2008 qualification failure
Rita Gibson | 13 July, 2018, 04:57

Imagine if they beat France in the final and their first home fixture after becoming world champions will be behind-closed-doors.

"The Fiery Ones are in the final, the nation is in a trance - one more step to the title!" said the Jutarnji List, using the team's nickname.

Trippier gave England a dream start, curling in a free-kick from 25 yards past the despairing dive of Danijel Subasic after Dele Alli was brought down in a central position. In extra-time nobody wanted to be substituted.

The Three Lions' journey to the penultimate stage of the tournament has seen victories over Panama and Tunisia in Group G, as well as wins over Colombia and Sweden in the knockout stages.

- Who has the edge in the World Cup final? Ante Rebic and Ivan Rakitic were closely watched and it prevented them from having a decent effect on the game in the first half.

Loud cheers rang out after each goal, fans waved the red, white and blue national flag, and after the final whistle Croatian TV showed wild celebrations breaking out in towns and cities.

Defender Sime Vrsaljko, who was an injury doubt before the game but played the full 120 minutes, was critical of England's style of play.

England were so close to the unimaginable, says Southgate
The nod went to Trippier, and with his first touch of the semi-final he superbly curled the ball home into the top corner. The Three Lions can be proud of their performance at this summer's World Cup finals in Russian Federation .

England players collapsed on the pitch, distraught as the Croatians and their fans celebrated wildly, .

Shortly after Ivan Perisic's equaliser and with England firmly on the back foot, Gareth Southgate looked to freshen things up by withdrawing Sterling and sending in Marcus Rashford in the hope that the 20-year-old could expose Lovren and Vida's exhausted legs.

Liverpool's Lovren is set to come up against Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane when Croatia and England meet on Wednesday.

Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric also pulled the strings cleverly in midfield and when the disappointment fades for England they might take consolation from the fact they were beaten by a technically gifted side.

"They'll be the best team we've played in terms of what they're capable of doing with the ball, and what their individuals are capable of, definitely", he said (via Sky Sports).

"We were good. We controlled the game, but there's always tension with us, we always concede this early goal and have shocks", Vrsaljko said.

"We've come a long way in an incredibly short space of time", said Southgate, whose young squad reached the last four for the first time since 1990, as well as winning their first ever penalty shootout in the World Cup Finals.

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