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England cop $70,000 fine after World Cup loss

13 July 2018
England cop $70,000 fine after World Cup loss

As for England, their challenge faded badly after taking the lead in the semi-final and in the end, they simply could not compete against a hungrier Croatia team.

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

On Sunday they will play the biggest match of their lives against a France side bursting with youth and vigour.

England's keeper Jordan Pickford made a brilliant save in stoppage time of the first half of extra time, appearing to injure Croatian striker Mario Mandzukic in the process.

"We are not putting more pressure on ourselves with what happened in 1998", said midfielder Ivan Rakitic.

Kevin Trippier curled in a free kick in the fifth minute. What a time to score!

England boss Gareth Southgate - on the day that was dubbed Waistcoat Wednesday in his honour back home - named an unchanged side to face Croatia, while Zlatko Dalić surprisingly made just one change from the side that beat Russian Federation on penalties in the quarter-final, bringing in midfield Marcelo Brozović for striker Andrej Kramarić. Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford quietly restarted and managed to get into Croatia's box before the referee called them back.

The script that said Croatia was exhausted and England would take advantage, seemed to play out early.

Loud cheers rang out after each goal, fans waved the red, white and blue national flag, and after the final whistle Croatian TV showed wild celebrations breaking out in towns and cities.

Luka Modric celebrates with teammates after scoring his team's second goal during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group match between Croatia and Nigeria at Kaliningrad Stadium on June 16, 2018.

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

"We were louder, they were carrying us, they picked us up when we were not in control of the game", Dalic said of the supporters. "And I don't think after the six or seven weeks we have been together, that we could have given more".

England arrived at this World Cup with the least experienced squad in terms of caps, but Southgate said the agony of losing was just as strong despite surpassing limited expectations. "It is what it is and so we will try to play that game with as much pride as we can and try to finish on a high", he said. First of all I'm so proud of this team and staff for giving everything we could over a long period of time together.