Published: Thu, July 12, 2018
Sport | By Cameron Gross

England set World Cup set-piece record

England set World Cup set-piece record

Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic praised Luka Modric ahead of his team's World Cup semi-final against England, saying the midfielder was in career-best form.

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.

But despite the heartbreak, they and manager Gareth Southgate have reconnected many people with the national team. Did we expect to be in this position?

"They can be absolutely proud".

"Twenty years ago I was back home in Omis, my hometown".

"But when you've got to this point and we've played in the way we have, and as well as we did in the first half, then you want to take those opportunities in life".

"I'm completely devastated at the result, more than I thought I would be", he said.

"It was a very hard game".

The Croatian national anthem was the first to be played before the match at the nearly full-house 80,000-seat Luzhniki Area kicked off.

What a journey it has been.

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But all was forgiven when Khaled's collaborator Drake stepped onto the stage as the festival's surprise headlining performer. Following Khaled's withdrawal, festival organizers promised they were "working on something special that won't disappoint".

But, for now, he'll pack away his English flag and cheer on Croatia when they face France.

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.

Despite taking the lead early in the first half on Wednesday, England suffered the familiar story of World Cup heartbreak as Croatia equalised in the second half and then claimed the victor in the second period of extra time.

"In four years, we're going to be unstoppable".

"We just weren't good enough at the end of the day".

Despite taking an early lead on a 5th-minute free kick from Kiernan Trippier, England went on to concede in the 68th minute and again in the 109th minute, with Mario Mandzukic's extra-time goal proving to be the game-winner.

But Southgate is no longer a football man whose worldwide career is been defined by that penalty miss at Euro 96.

For Southgate and his team it continues way beyond that.

But the third-place match can hold some surprises: The record for the fastest goal in World Cup history still belongs to Turkey's Hakan Sukur, who buried one 11 seconds into the third-place game against South Korea in 2002.

Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, left, is beaten by a header from France's Samuel Umtiti for the opening goal during the semifinal match between France and Belgium at the 2018 soccer World Cup in St. Petersburg, Russia on Tuesday.

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