Exhausted Croatia must draw on reserves for France final

Dean Simpson
July 13, 2018

Jubilant Croatian fans honked their vehicle horns and let off fireworks after their national football team beat England 2-1 in extra time Wednesday to clinch a place in the World Cup finals against France. In extra time Danny Rose came on for Ashley Young and Eric Dier swapped with Jordan Henderson.

They matched the feat of their predecessors in 1998 who reached the semi-finals in the country's first World Cup as an independent nation. Give us a day to recover....thank you.

"I think the reaction of the supporters to them at the end compared to two years ago tells them that, first and foremost, experiences with England can be positive, that the country are very proud of what they've done and the way that they've played. I feel disappointed but proud".

Southgate's team of 23 has been revolutionary in the sense, that unlike the gold superstars of the past, this team is tied on a bond of brotherhood and the spectacle which they have presented in Russian Federation will make it easier for the next generation to follow them.

Russian Federation is staging its first-ever FIFA World Cup, which kicked off in Moscow with a remarkable opening show at Luzhniki Stadium on the evening of June 14. "And others coming through the age group teams with good experiences, who have belief they can win, but also expectations that we should be in quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals more regularly".

Among the best was Marcelo Brozovic, the Inter Milan midfielder brought into the line-up to provide extra steel in front of the defence.

Croatia will be without their right-back Sime Vrsaljko when they face England on their semi-final match of the Russia World Cup 2018 at Luzhniki Stadium.

Southgate said playing regularly in big matches was a key stage of development for his players and that the way they dropped away in the second half was perhaps a result of their inexperience.

England scored yet another set piece goal on Wednesday to earn an early 1-0 lead over Croatia in the World Cup semifinal.

"We're excited about the future but want to make the most of the opportunity we have [now]".

"We are going to play England in the League of Nations (in October) and we don´t have a proper stadium to play that game".

Even leaving aside the fact they're into the final, the French have trailed in just one match so far.

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