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Chasing Croatian football dreams to final of Fifa World Cup 2018

12 July 2018

England manager Gareth Southgate says he knew that the negative press about Russian Federation leading up to this summer's World Cup would not turn out to be true. Surely Harry Kane, the tourney leader with six goals, or another instant hero would convert the one chance they needed.

However, Ivan Perisic volleyed in an equaliser 22 minutes from time.

Regulation time could not separate the two teams, with the score tied at 1-1, until Madzukic found a way to score the victor.

It was heartbreak for Gareth Southgate's young side and Trippier's emotions spilled out when he was forced off with an injury in extra time and helped away to the bench by England's medical staff. "We need all the players but they must all be fit on the pitch".

Out on the pitch last night at the Luzhniki was evidence of Southgate's shrewdness and intelligence, not least in the form of the players he has promoted to the senior ranks.

More news: Gary Neville hails England for exceeding expectations despite World Cup heartbreak

England won their opening game at a major tournament for the first time since the 2006 World Cup. Did we expect to be in this position?

I think England have got a really strong team this year, they are all so young and when you're young, you just go for it and don't worry.

"So, the dressing room and all of the staff is (in) a very hard place at the moment".

A $100 bet on England would net you a $200 profit if they were to win in regulation, but keep in mind that England just played an extra 30 minutes and has a day's less rest.

"I would like to thank everyone who came to support us in Moscow and everyone back home in Croatia who are sending their incredible support to us".

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From Harry Kane's stoppage-time victor against Tunisia to Jesse Lingard's wonder goal against Panama.

Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford had an outstanding tournament, making a crucial penalty save in the shoot-out win against Colombia and performing with distinction against Sweden and Croatia.

As the Tottenham full-back remarked only last week when he was compared to David Beckham, "not bad for a lad from Bury".

As they entered the second half of extra time against England with the scores level, it began to look like they would need to step up to the spot again, until Mario Mandžukić scored with 11 minutes to play.

The rising hope only makes the dip of despair even more chastening.

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But in the end it just wasn't to be.

Chasing Croatian football dreams to final of Fifa World Cup 2018