Published: Thu, July 12, 2018
Sports | By Johanna Francis

Gareth Southgate defends Harry Kane from semi-final criticism

Gareth Southgate defends Harry Kane from semi-final criticism

He returned Wednesday to cheer on Croatia with almost 500 of his closest friends.

Kane missed two golden chances in the space of five seconds in the first half, which would have put England 2-0 up and was virtually anonymous from the second half onwards.

A $100 bet on England would net you a $200 profit if they were to win in regulation, but keep in mind that England just played an extra 30 minutes and has a day's less rest.

The Croatia defender Domagoj Vida added to the long-standing tensions with a video that was released of him shouting "Glory to Ukraine", after his team had put Russian Federation out on penalties in the quarter-final.

Gareth Southgate insists he could not have asked for more from captain Harry Kane during England's World Cup campaign, dismissing criticism of the Tottenham striker's performance in Wednesday's 2-1 semi-final defeat to Croatia.

And Kieran Trippier, arguably England's player of the tournament so far, scored an absolute peach.

"We've got to keep getting over those hurdles and I know we talked about the success of the younger teams but this is a much harder, much bigger level for the players and the belief is building as things are happening".

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The Croatians went into Russian Federation as the 20th-ranked team in the world, but in particular their midfield talents of Real Madrid's Luka Modric and Barcelona's Ivan Rakitic meant they were fancied by many as dark horses for a decent run.

"I'd be amazed if he doesn't come out in the next few days or week and something emerges about his fitness".

"I took Liverpool to the Champions League final and now with my national team I am in the World Cup final".

As more players piled on, they crashed into the photographers. "They are a top-drawer team with fantastic players".

And, despite the cruel ending, history was made. They reached the World Cup semi-final for the first time since Italia 90.

After tonight's result, England now face Belgium on Saturday for the second time this tournament - this time in the not so exciting third-place play-off. Nobody wanted to give in.

From Southgate's perspective, though, a third-placed finish will add to the sense of achievement and pride and at least allow England to leave Russian Federation on the high most will agree they have deserved.

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