Published: Fri, July 13, 2018
Life&Culture | By Sue Mclaughlin

England manager Gareth Southgate reflects on World Cup exit

England manager Gareth Southgate reflects on World Cup exit

Croatia's Mario Mandzukic celebrates after scoring the winning goal in extra time as Croatia beat England 2-1 in a World Cup semifinal on Wednesday.

According to Reuters journalist Simon Evans, Vrsaljko claimed that, contrary to popular opinion, this was not a new-look England team. Croatia played three straight extra-time matches - two ended in penalty kicks.

England head coach Gareth Southgate, centre, embraces England's Dele Alli at the end of the semifinal loss to Croatia.

But after an uplifting campaign, we should reflect on the positives, says The Guardian's Barney Ronay. His free-kick was curled perfectly into the net from 25m out, leaving Danijel Subasic comprehensively beaten.

The goal continued the side's astonishing success from set-pieces at the World Cup - they scored nine goals from set-pieces - the most by any team in a single tournament since 1966.

Croatia, in their first semi since 1998, levelled through Ivan Perisic after 68 minutes and then looked the more unsafe side.

Causing troubleRaheem Sterling caused Croatia all sorts of problems with his pace and movement.

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Croatia's legs at the start seemed to carry the weight of so many minutes in the knockout stage, and a pressing England went up quickly.

But Southgate paid tribute to all of his players and staff, after a summer adventure which will remain long in the memory of all England fans and will continue on Saturday when they face Belgium in the third place game.

Captain Harry Kane, who leads the race for the tournament's golden boot with six goals, commented on how England have managed to get fans back on their side. "It hurts a lot, [and will hurt] for a while".

The game went to extra time after neither side could find a victor in normal time, where Croatia continued their dominance. But Kane said the team could "hold our heads held high" as they "went further than anybody thought". It's been a fantastic journey.

"We created some good chances when we were 1-0 up, maybe we dropped a little too deep but we didn't get enough pressure on the ball". Sure, ultimately they came up short, but the manner of their achievement in getting to a semi final no-one saw coming has inspired us all.

Croatia can be backed at [3.0] to win the World Cup on Sunday, while opponents France are the strong favourites at [1.5].

In delirious scenes in Paris, fans let off fire crackers and released smoke flares.

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