Published: Thu, July 12, 2018
Entertaiment | By Mabel Barber

England’s big World Cup pleasure was proving people wrong, says Kyle Walker

England’s big World Cup pleasure was proving people wrong, says Kyle Walker

It went into extra-time and Gareth Southgate replaced Ashley Young with Danny Rose on the flank. Croatia controlled the ball in the middle, and the experience showed, as it out-shot England 22-11 and completed over 100 passes more in the match.

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

Croatia were always considered dark horses for the World Cup, and they lived up to that tag by reaching the final in Russian Federation. "We were 1-0 up, we missed a few chances and mentally we dropped off and if you drop off against players of the class of Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic, Ante Rebic and Ivan Perisic you're going to have trouble".

It was England´s best performance at a major tournament since Southgate was part of the team that reached the semi-finals at Euro ´96. He knows what to say at the right time.

World Cup semi-final opponents England and Croatia's fines over sponsorship protocols are both approximately 10 times the fine that the Russian soccer federation was hit with after its fans were seen unfurling a banner featuring neo-Nazi messaging.

However, they have taken a gruelling route to the final and the French will be warm favourites. There will be legitimate questions about how much they have left in the tank.

What is not in doubt is their quality.

The defeat will be hard to digest for England, who have won many admirers for their run to the semifinals and must have felt they were on the verge of the final when they were in front. Midfielder Perisic was outstanding in the second half and caused England no end of problems.

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

Mario Mandzukic of Croatia scores the winning goal against England in Moscow.

Vrsaljko cleared a John Stones header off the line midway through the first extra period.

"He will be under the most glaring spotlight imaginable as he leads the Croatia defence in their World Cup semi-final against England, and the sight of Harry Kane lining up against him once again might just unnerve him".

"I was lying in bed finding the strength to play and it was worth it".

Will Croatia beat France in the World Cup final?

But he is yet to fully convince and win the trust of everyone, and is still susceptible to occasional errors, highlighted by his stray pass that allowed Russian Federation a chance to go clear on goal in the closing minutes of the quarter-final.

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