France final special for Croatia's Perisic

France final special for Croatia's Perisic

There's no telling how long that suspicion will last.

And yet there is no escaping a brutal question that will haunt England - when will they ever get a better chance to reach a World Cup final than the one that presented itself here in Russian Federation?

Overall, the Three Lions have scored nine of their 12 goals at the tournament from set pieces.

Mario Mandzukic struck a dramatic 109th-minute goal at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow after Ivan Perisic had cancelled out Kieran Trippier's opener. Dalic confirmed Vrsaljko was in some doubt, while he insisted fatigue would be no excuse after his side were pushed to penalties in back-to-back matches. Suddenly, England looked like the exhausted ones.

England had history in their hands and a first World Cup final since 1966 in their sights as the clock ticked past 10pm in Moscow - only to let it all slip away and so leave this historic city with familiar feelings of despair and disappointment.

Captain Hary Kane missed a chance he would normally take, Jesse Lingaard directed his effort wide from a promising position and there were signs Croatia were being overrun in that half. And it nearly happened early in the extra session when John Stones rose to meet a corner kick, only for Vrsaljko to clear the goal-bound header off the line. "Thank you, England": A simple message of gratitude from the Express, accompanied by a picture of Southgate and his players showing their appreciation to the travelling supporters.

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Celebrities, former players and royalty have been praising the England team for their "beautiful World Cup run", calling them "heroes" who have made the country proud. Croatia deserved the victory. For England, the end still felt premature. "I reckon there's a lot we could've done better".

First, look at the team.

You couldn't ask for anything more from the group of players.

But Raj Singh, a Canadian who supports England because he has relatives in Britain, said the team may have passed up their best opportunity in a lifetime to reach a World Cup final.

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