England hailed as heroes after World Cup heartache

England hailed as heroes after World Cup heartache

The extra-time loss to Croatia in midweek means the Three Lions are preparing for Saturday's third-place play-off against Belgium in St Petersburg instead of the showpiece final against France the following day.

"We were 20 minutes from a World Cup final and then, in extra time, 10 minutes from a shootout to get to a World Cup final".

7 - goals in the tournament's highest-scoring games, Belgium's 5-2 win over Tunisia and England's 6-1 rout of Panama in Group G and France's 4-3 win over Argentina in the last 16.

"We saw in the last game that they finished the stronger of the two teams".

Writing Croatia's name in the history books: "We'll be in the history books for being, along with Uruguay, the smallest country to play in the final".

"Now my care is for everybody else and picking them up first and foremost, energising them for this game". I hope we will make the world happy.

"Maybe England or the English media did not show enough respect to the Croatian national team, which we deserved, especially when you look at the clubs our players play for". "We're here to improve every time we play", he continued.

"The cup feels so close we can nearly touch it but there is still a lot to do to get there".

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"There is a lot of motivation for us and Belgium have already beaten us, so we would like to address that as well". Everyone wants to play but sometimes it is not a good decision to play someone if their energy is not quite there.

Southgate certainly has the nation's backing and provides a firm platform on which to build, unlike the teams of World Cup 1990 and Euro 96 when semi-final runs were followed by the exits of popular managers Sir Bobby Robson and Terry Venables.

"If we had a parade, that would have been one part of the country". I don't think anyone could have given any more.

"I was born in 1966 so I'm a World Cup baby".

"They've got to know the players a little bit better and realised the perception is different from the reality".

Croatia came from behind to win the game at the Luzhniki Stadium with Ivan Perisic equalising in the second half before Mario Mandzukic scored the decisive goal in extra time.

Asked about his in-game chatter with VIP guests, Infantino said: "When we are here we don't speak about politics, we speak about football".

"I think every Belgian fan deserves that winning feeling at the end of this tournament".

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