Heroes who built Croatia

Southgate promises strong XI as England target World Cup medals

Man United and France midfielder Paul Pogba previews the 2018 World Cup final

"He came into the picture at a very hard moment".

Fans were daring to dream of a possible place in the final when Kieran Trippier curled in a sumptuous free-kick after just five minutes in Wednesday's semi-final against Croatia.

Croatia knocked out England in their Semi Final, and they were the far superior team based on chances created (xG: CRO 2.14 - 0.73 ENG).

MOSCOW - The official heir to Yugoslavia's achievements at the World Cup is Serbia.

The game at Saint Petersburg Stadium, St. Petersburg, starts at 5 p.m. local time, or 10 a.m.

Gareth Southgate says his England players are ready to build on their fourth place finish at the World Cup.

The way English supporters have embraced this team and their exploits in the last month has been nearly unprecedented, and with the vast majority of the squad still in their early to mid-twenties, there may be plenty more for their fans to enthuse about in the next few years. For a sense of how big a deal that is, look at how quickly coach Zlatko Dalic switched out of his dress shirt and into a jersey after Wednesday's extra-time win against England, or how Croatia President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic proudly wore a checkered scarf to a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit this week in Belgium. "We have some young players underneath this group".

Ivan Perisic, who scored and set up Mario Mandzukic's victor in a 2-1 semi-final win over England, was among five Croatian players to miss training on Friday.

Many England fans had been hoping to give their World Cup heroes a warm welcome upon their return from Russian Federation.

France Wins World Cup Championship
But a questionable penalty was buried by Griezmann just before the break to give France the lead heading into the second half. Croatia's Mario Mandzukic inadvertently headed the ball into his own net in the 18th minute.

"Yeah, we got a bit of luck in the draw and we came up against teams that we proved to be better than".

The World Cup final is one which doesn't need much hype, as the excitement is ingrained into all of us.

"Then there is the way we have handled a lot of situations in this tournament".

"Today was always going to be a really hard game".

Southgate will spend a few days with his family this week but will then work at St George's Park making plans for the September worldwide break, when England will play Spain in their first Nations League fixture and a friendly against Switzerland.

A team boasting the talents of Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic were struggling even to qualify for the World Cup before his appointment in October previous year.

"People tell me they could never imagine celebrating a goal as if it were scored by their own country".

Dalic said: "We are only able to see a small portion of what is going on back home".

But he said: "I don't want to think about myself at the moment, because we are a team".

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