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Boost for England as Croatia star is ruled out

13 July 2018
Boost for England as Croatia star is ruled out

The dream was crushed for supporters in Moscow and at home as Gareth Southgate's men lost 2-1 to Croatia in the semi-final after extra time. In extra time Danny Rose came on for Ashley Young and Eric Dier swapped with Jordan Henderson.

Grant Davidson said they had "brought the country together" during the run to the semi-finals, the first time England had reached the last four since losing to West Germany in 1990. "We all know what was at stake and how important a semi-final is for a small country like Croatia", said Perisic.

Both of his goals came from set-plays, and given he is averaging 0.29 xG per 90 minutes, he can be expected to get at least one chance in this game.

"We have to play as if this were the first game in this tournament".

"This team is nowhere near the level they will be capable of, partly because of age and partly because over the years they'll have more big-match experience".

Croatia's win means they have become the 13th country and the tenth European nation to qualify for the World Cup final in the history of the tournament.

In Moscow, some England fans emerged from the Luzhniki Stadium in tears and being hugged by others while jubilant Croatian supporters celebrated around them.

Domagoj Vida and Mario Mandzukic let the young ones join in the post-match celebrations on the Luzhniki pitch.

Yet, here he is fixing every nail in the coffin - the coffin that will bury the past - he is adjoining every English hopes again, preparing his players as they aim their fast shot at glory since 1966.

But a second-half goal from Ivan Perisic and an extra-time victor from Mario Mandzukic ended England's dream of reaching the final and winning a second World Cup for their country. Nobody should be surprised if they do that one more time on Sunday to collect their first major worldwide trophy.

But place in the World Cup final against France was not to be. Throughout the game we looked at how we might stem the tide but there weren't clear changes to make.

"We can be proud and happy. we don't want to stop here", Croatia's star player Luka Modric told HRT.