Fans in Moscow devastated after England knocked out by Croatia

Ruben Hill
July 12, 2018

Jubilant Croatian fans honked their vehicle horns and let off fireworks while England fans sobbed and looked to the future with confidence after Mario Mandzukic's extra-time victor took Croatia to its first World Cup final.

That's why beating Colombia in the last 16 knockout match was wonderful.

"This is fantastic. Two players played with half a leg, but it didn´t show". In extra-time nobody wanted to be substituted.

"We'll be ready as a group to go again because the group have huge pride in their performances in the way they work".

The fixture is generally forgotten about and thought of as a meaningless game, as neither team would much rather prefer to have played in the final - and the winners of the so-called "bronze medal" are usually not remembered once the tournament finishes.

"We have two days to prepare. Going to extra-time might be a problem along with the fact France have had an extra day to recover but there will be no excuses", he added.

"In the first half, give them credit they did play relatively well, in the second half bottle jobs".

It was the first time England have ever won a shootout at a World Cup!

Dalic was only appointed as Croatia coach towards the end of their qualifying campaign, leading them to Russian Federation via a play-off win against Greece.

Technically not a moment on the pitch but we just needed to dedicate a section to England manager Gareth Southgate's waistcoats.

"We had hoped [for this] and we believed in our team, but the feeling when we finally entered the finals can not be compared to anything", said Croatia fan Ivan Kecerin.

"They played their best, it obviously wasn't to be".

"We were motivated and what I told these players before the game was "there's no pressure, no nerves, don't lose your head - you've reached the semi-final, be proud and enjoy your football".

Hopes of a first final since 1966 were dashed on Wednesday after England slipped to a 2-1 defeat against Croatia.

Southgate was reluctant to draw any positives from England's World Cup experience so soon after the crushing loss to Croatia, but said there obviously were many high points and pointed to a bright future for his young, talented squad after their success in Russian Federation.

Eric Amsalem, a 48-year-old Croatian fan with his face painted in the colours of the national flag said: "It's a small country".

"Every city we've played in, and our base in particular, but everywhere we've played, we've had a really warm welcome, the organization of the tournament has been absolutely first-class".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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