Published: Thu, July 12, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Perisic hails 'dream' goal as Croatia reach final

Perisic hails 'dream' goal as Croatia reach final

THE hopes and fears of the nation have reached new heights ahead of England's semi-final clash with Croatia.

France coach Didier Deschamps urged his side to seize their chance of redemption in the World Cup final after admitting he has still not got over the pain of defeat in the Euro 2016 final.

England's bid to reach the World Cup final ended in heartbreak and failure on a night of unbearable tension in Moscow.

While Belgium beat favourites Brazil only to be unseated by France in the semi-final, England's opponents were Colombia, Sweden and Croatia - not easy but unquestionably more manageable.

Rangers manager Gerrard - who featured in seven major tournaments for England but never went further than the quarter-finals - said: "I've been so pleased to watch the players perform. There's a lot of enthusiasm".

A win for England would help erase World Cup futility.

And fans said they believed the key to success was the youthful team's work ethic and pride.

"Trippier, Maguire, Jordan Pickford, I would put those three in a category where, before the tournament, I was thinking, 'Can they step up?"

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But Kane says when the disappointment eases there are plenty of positives.

She added that she is flying back to Croatia and would be watching the game as part of a joint birthday football celebration.

Southgate, 47, embraced wife of more than 20 years Alison as well as son Flynn, 15, and daughter Mia, 19 and managed to raise a smile as he did so. "Then they suddenly realised that I was underneath them", said Mexico City-based Cortez.

"But I don't think when people look at the experience and the last 18 months that we were expected to be in the semi-finals of a World Cup".

GW: Yeah, there's a good article in The Guardian, by Aleksander Holiga that I suggest everyone read, about Croatia and he's one of the authorities on Croatia.

Croatian players left a pitchside photographer sprawled out on the floor as they celebrated Mario Mandzukic's goal in extra time which handed them a World Cup semi-final win against England. There had been huge optimism during the day that while France in the final would be a tough proposition, there was little doubt that England would make it.

He said: "The momentum is growing and I think our squad has greater depth". It had been England's best performance in decades, and many had dared to dream that the team might even go on to win it - that football was coming home.

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