Croatian 'miracle' down to team work and unity, says Dalic

Croatian 'miracle' down to team work and unity, says Dalic

Croatia were the second team to book their place in Sunday's final in Moscow after beating England 2-1 in extra-time last night.

The Three Lions were aiming to reach their first World Cup final since 1966 but suffered a 2-1 loss to Croatia, with Mario Mandzukic scoring the victor in extra-time.

"We saw in the last game that they finished the stronger of the two teams".

"I'm gutted for the players and I'm gutted for Gareth because, as everyone knows, it was an incredible opportunity to go to a World Cup final", he said.

But they couldn't score, meaning Croatia won 2-1 to take them into Sunday's final against France.

"In terms of mentality, it's obviously been a really hard couple of days for us", said Southgate.

England will return to their Repino base near Saint Petersburg ahead of tomorrow's (10pm Brunei time) third place play-off against Belgium, a repeat of their final group match. I guess I'm going with Belgium because I think the heartbreak might be a bit too much for England at this point?

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Despite failing to make the most of arguably their best chance of reaching the final since 1966, British media hailed the team as heroes with Mirror Sport declaring them "National Treasures", while the Daily Mail saluted their efforts. But that's football. Maybe those things spurred us on but we were already sufficiently motivated to try to make the final and make our people happy.

England manager Gareth Southgate is expected to be given a new, improved contract after impressing at the 2018 Russia World Cup. We want to be challenging for semi-finals and finals. We had had six matches playing with this system [before the World Cup] and players are now a lot clearer in what they're doing. Niall McCarthy from Forbes reported that $391m of this goes to teams to be spent on tournament preparation and medical insurance for potential player injuries.

"And I think we need to take full credit for that because we've changed that".

Captain Harry Kane will be among the more interesting selection decisions, given the sharpshooter is gunning for the Golden Boot. "It's the same as if you're at a big club".

For Belgium and their "Golden Generation", numerous key players should return for the 2022 World Cup, even if Vincent Kompany and Jan Vertonghen will probably be gone by then.

"The youth and enthusiasm of the team propelled them back into the minds of their public", said Southgate.