Kylian Mbappe revels in England's World Cup misery on Instagram

Kylian Mbappe revels in England's World Cup misery on Instagram

But Croatia rallied and gave England's back three more of an examination upon the start of the second period, eventually restoring parity - Ivan Perisic providing a clever finish in the 68th minute.

But Southgate paid tribute to all of his players and staff, after a summer adventure which will remain long in the memory of all England fans and will continue on Saturday when they face Belgium in the third place game.

"We deserved the victory", said match-winner Mandzukic.

After a nervous opening quarter from Croatia, their first serious attempt on goal came in the 18th minute when Ivan Perisic cut inside from the left and fired from outside the box only for it to go just wide.

In Gareth Southgate, England have a manager who has brought new vigor to the national team setup, and who has managed to transform a side who crashed out to minnows Iceland at Euro 2016 into World Cup semifinalists.

Croatia were a different team after the break, dominating play and looking the better side.

Defender Vrsaljko was also instrumental, clearing a shot off the line in the first half of extra time as well as setting up Perisic's equaliser.

Dead-ball situations once again played their part but were not the deciding factor for England and ultimately the "Love Train", as Glenn Hoddle has labelled it, was derailed. Before the game, Lovren was asked about Liverpool's 4-1 thrashing by Tottenham Hotspur in October, when he was terrorised by Harry Kane and substituted after 31 minutes.

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There was a look of glee in Del Potro's sometimes sad eyes, and his lumbering between-points walk had a bit more energy to it. The Spaniard will face Novak Djokovic in the last four for a chance to meet either John Isner or Kevin Anderson in the final.

"There's a lot we could have done better".

Its previous two games went to extra time and then emotionally draining penalty shootouts. "We have had a fantastic journey, further than we thought", he added.

"We gave it everything, I know we're gonna look back and say we could have done this and what but at the end of the day it was small margins in a big game and it didn't go our way today", said striker Kane, now the tournament's top scorer with six goals.

"We've left everything out there, you can look at the goals and the chances, but I don't think over the six or seven weeks we've been together we could've given any more".

"I think now is the time for us to be strong as a group and take the time to reflect on the performance a little bit over the next couple of days".

For English soccer fans used to painful World Cup exits, the semifinal loss hurt.

In delirious scenes in Paris, fans let off fire crackers and released smoke flares.

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