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Word Cup 2018: Gareth Southgate admits loss will haunt him forever

14 July 2018

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.

England's players had been criticized for their recent tournament showings after a group stage exit in the last World Cup and being knocked out of Euro 2016 by tiny Iceland.

Gareth Southgate has been blown away by his players' response to their semi-final devastation as focus turns to becoming the second-best England side in World Cup history. "You're disappointed because you lose the semi-final, and it's very hard to see the opportunity of playing another game as a positive", he said.

"We've set a benchmark for how we work", he said.

"The players have to go through big matches and experiences to become a team that can win". "We're here to improve every time we play", he continued. I think we all deserve this. "So, we'll try and get the team that is best able to do the job".

Southgate is now the only Englishman to lose in the semi-final of a major tournament as both a manager and player. Sometimes it's not always a good decision to play if people's energy isn't quite there. "And Belgium have beaten us once already so we'd like to address that".

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Here's one reason Catholics in the USA might be rooting for the small Central European country: Croatia is a deeply Catholic country, and the coach of its national team, Zlatko Dalic, is a man of honest faith.

"He still sprints in the 115th minute, he tracks back, he leads the team, he is the man of the tournament", added the coach. I don't think anyone could have given any more. We were lucky to reach the final but we've shown this kind of commitment in each game.

"I would definitely leave my football boots behind on Monday if that was the price I had to pay to win for my country, to win for Croatia", said Rakitic, according to Telegraph Sport.

"I was born in 1966 so I'm a World Cup baby.

This is an historic game, not just for us but for everybody who is Croatian", Rakitic said. "It's the same as if you were at a big club".

Outside the football stadiums, social media was another ground for the "It Is Coming Home" frenzy, as people took to hashtags and viral videos to express their support or "non-support" as the case may be for the Three Lions stride for World Cup glory.

Word Cup 2018: Gareth Southgate admits loss will haunt him forever