England’s big World Cup pleasure was proving people wrong, says Kyle Walker

'Croatia are the best team we have faced yet' – Southgate on England's semi-final opponents

"We worked as hard as we could.it hurts, it hurts a lot and it will hurt for a long time".

"We're gutted", said Harry Kane, still on course to finish as the tournament's top goalscorer with six strikes in Russian Federation.

"All these words from them we take, we were reading and we were saying 'OK, today we will see who will be exhausted.' As I said, they should be more humble, and respect opponents more". We will see what happens, but success for Croatia the most important. He knows what to say at the right time.

England took the lead with a magnificent free-kick from Kieran Trippier.

Indeed, after getting to the tournament's final four, after reversing a terrible penalty shootout history, in its round-of-16 win over Colombia, there's a sense of optimism in England about this young, talented and appealing team.

"After the experiences of the matches with Colombia and Sweden and the whole thing, it's probably beyond where we thought we might be able to go, so tonight in the end, we weren't quite there".

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Croatia will be coming off its third straight extra-time match and is the first team in 28 years to come from behind to win a World Cup semifinal. There will be legitimate questions about how much they have left in the tank. Midfielder Perisic was outstanding in the second half and caused England no end of problems.

As well as scoring, Perisic also hit the post for the second straight game and set up Mandzukic's victor, heading a poor clearance toward the Juventus striker to score.

The country of around 4 million people came to a standstill as Croatians watched the game on screens in squares and cafes.

Croatia’s Mario Mandzukic and scores his team’s second goal during the World Cup semifinal against England at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on July 11, 2018. Lingard failed to connect with a Kane through ball in 78th, Kane miss-hit a header off a free kick in stoppage time, and Stones' header from a corner was cleared off the line by Vrsaljko in the 99th. I can't tell you how proud I am to share the dressing room with these players.

Asked if Croatia could beat France in the final on Sunday, his girlfriend Marina said: "Of course". Yet what Sterling has lacked at this World Cup in goals, he has made up for with his sheer work-rate and intelligent movement in attacking areas of the pitch.

England fell one win short of its goal of reaching the World Cup final, surrendering a 1-0 lead in Wednesday's semifinal against Croatia.

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