Fans thank England for 'making nation dream'

Gareth Southgate England

Some England fans emerged from the Luzhniki Stadium in tears and being hugged by others while jubilant Croatian supporters celebrated around them.

Kyle Walker delivered an upbeat appraisal of England's campaign in Russian Federation and proceeded to offer context by providing a comparison with previous tournaments in which he has been involved.

"We had hoped [for this] and we believed in our team, but the feeling when we finally entered the finals can not be compared to anything", said Croatia fan Ivan Kecerin. "We have to keep playing well for our club and hopefully the manager picks us for the national team". I think it is too easy to move on immediately from what we've just been through.

Scenes after the game were, perhaps unsurprisingly, more subdued than after the quarter-final win against Sweden. My players push me, they are mentally stronger than me.

England are out of the World Cup after losing 2-1 to Croatia in the semi-finals. But a second-half goal from Ivan Perisic and an extra-time victor from Mario Mandzukic ended England's dream of reaching the final and winning a second World Cup for their country.

"Did we expect to be in this position?" But when you get to this point and play as well as we did in the first half, you want to take those opportunities in life.

"So, the dressing room and all of the staff is (in) a very hard place at the moment. But we have our hearts, our pride and our players and that is what is really important to us".

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England secured their biggest major tournament win in Russian Federation, as well as winning their first World Cup penalty shootout and first knockout match since 2006 en route to just their third ever semi-final in this competition.

"And, yeah, there will in time be a lot of positives to take. We've proved to ourselves and our country that is possible".

"I am in contact with Ciro, I want him to come (for the final), I want them all (France 98′ team) to come", Dalic told Nova TV, before adding.

The Croats needed extra-time and penalties for the second successive knockout game, beating Russian Federation last time, so it wouldn't be a surprise to see them tire at some point in this game.

"Now is a time for us to be strong as a group and take the time to reflect on the performance a bit more over the next couple of days".

"I couldn't have asked them to give any more for me or for the country".

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