Published: Thu, July 12, 2018
Global | By Marsha Munoz

Why England's World Cup semifinal loss was really painful

Why England's World Cup semifinal loss was really painful

France and Croatia will fight for the right to be called the World Cup champion.

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

Since that Argentina game, Croatia have done just enough to beat Iceland, Denmark and Russian Federation, but Dalic believes that is because they set up to frustrate his side, whereas England's more attacking style could suit them better. 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.

Referencing the 52 years that England have gone since winning the World Cup, The Guardian sport section leads with the image of the moment Mario Mandzukic fired the winning goal beyond Jordan Pickford.

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It meant another World Cup semifinal heartbreaker for England, only this time the game was under control before it was lost.

World Cup fever has gripped England since the start of the tournament and now fans are starting to believe that football really is coming home.

Gareth Southgate's young side had to hold back the tears at full-time - but there was no stopping them comforting their incredible fans as Croatia took their place in Sunday's final. For England, the end still felt premature. "There are a lot of ifs and buts, in these games it's small margins". It just hurts. It shows we can win knockout games; the next stage is to go one further.

TV host James Corden tweeted in response to someone who said that England's captain had let the team down: "Nobody let anybody down".

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"We've been with you all along and we'll be with you next time".

Comedian Rob Beckett said he had a ticket to the final up for grabs, because he had bought it thinking England would make it all the way.

But the cold hard truth is that England squandered its chance to reach the final. Ivan Perisic became more determined, Luca Modric dictated the tempo in midfield, and while Raheem Sterling was getting the better of Dejan Lovren, the Croatian defence had enough presence to prevent the England front-line from getting many shots away.

"Those emotions are what drive us, that is our petrol and how we have come back to a semi-final after 20 years".

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