England's squad all train ahead of World Cup semi-final against Croatia

England's squad all train ahead of World Cup semi-final against Croatia

But Ivan Perisic grabbed the equaliser in the 68th minute, getting an outstretched boot to Sime Vrsaljko's cross and guiding the ball past England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.

Can Southgate now become the first manager to win a World Cup semi-final with England on foreign soil as he bids ultimately to match the achievement of Alf Ramsey's side?

After the match, England captain Harry Kane said the defeat would "hurt for a long time", although he reiterated that England had exceeded expectations by making it to the semi-final.

"There's a lot we could have done better". Hell, the Netherlands lost a semifinal on spot-kicks four years ago and didn't even qualify for this World Cup. Nobody wanted to say I am not ready.

The New York Times opined that Trippier's early goal in Wednesday's World Cup semifinal was the "perfect start" for England, allaying fans' concerns and giving them a sense of hope that the team could make it to its first World Cup final since its 1966 tournament victory.

That caution proved to well founded as Mario Mandzukic's extra-time victor fired Croatia into Sunday's final against France as England's expense in a tense semi-final in Moscow, with Keane biding his time before revisiting his previous discussion with Wright.

Croatia keep dreaming! Vatreni showed themselves and the world what they are capable of.

Croatia were a goal down against Denmark in the last 16 and against Russian Federation in the quarter-finals, before equalising and forcing extra time and penalty shootouts.

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What is not in doubt is their quality.

It was as though England had simply chose to cast off the half-century of heartbreak and humiliation its national team had endured in its quest to recapture the World Cup for the first time since 1966. Suddenly, England looked like the exhausted ones.

Mandzukic alertly reacted to the unexpected ball in the penalty area, splitting defenders John Stones and Harry Maguire, who had taken four short steps up.

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.

A late Croatia onslaught was unable to complete the turnaround and England stepped things up again in extra-time, nearly retaking the lead when John Stones had a header cleared off the line by Vrsaljko in the 98th minute.

For a team who have been consistently well-organised and effective throughout this tournament, it was a odd state of affairs but crucially they were able to turn it around and England had no answer.

"The higher the level of opponent, if you press in a disorganised fashion, then you will get picked through, and we have got to be conscious of that".

"Any team in a World Cup semi-final is going to find the energy and going to find the motivation".

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