England manager Gareth Southgate reflects on World Cup exit

May JohnsonJul 13, 2018

It's the first time that Croatia - a nation of just 4 million people - have reached the final of the World Cup, and to say their players were elated was like saying Gareth Southgate kind of likes waistcoats. Croatian midfielder Ivan Perisic rose into the air and with an acrobatic touch off his left foot, drilled the ball into the back of the net.

England captain Harry Kane was heartbroken after the loss but admitted that England had paid the price for being too passive in the second half after a bright opening 40 minutes.

The referees clearly didn't agree with the supposed loophole, leaving England players red faced in the middle of the pitch.

England´s midfielder Jordan Henderson (L), England´s coach Gareth Southgate (C) and England´s defender Phil Jones react after losing the Russian Federation 2018 World Cup semi-final match between Croatia and England at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on July 11, 2018. While they ultimately fell a little bit short, this young group of players gave us reason to believe that football was coming home and brings much-needed positivity going forward.

"It hurts, it hurts a lot".

Defender Vrsaljko was also instrumental, clearing a shot off the line in the first half of extra time as well as setting up Perisic's equaliser.

Perisic came close again and Mandzukic had a shot saved by Pickford as Croatia pressed for the victor but it wasn't to come and the game headed into extra-time.

Croatia Fire Assistant Coach for Posting 'Glory to Ukraine' Video to Facebook
Croatia's Domagoj Vida can play against England in Wednesday's World Cup semi-final despite featuring in a pro-Ukraine video. The Croatian Football Federation apologizes to the Russian public for the actions of their national team staff member.

But he is yet to fully convince and win the trust of everyone, and is still susceptible to occasional errors, highlighted by his stray pass that allowed Russian Federation a chance to go clear on goal in the closing minutes of the quarter-final. In the 109th minute, Perisic struck again.

The quarter-final against Sweden saw England triumph with a relatively comfortable 2-0 win over Sweden, setting up Wednesday's semi-final against Croatia.

"They'll be the best team we've played in terms of what they're capable of doing with the ball, and what their individuals are capable of, definitely", he said (via Sky Sports). It's been a fantastic journey.

Read all of Business Insider's World Cup coverage here.

Cars and vans drove through the streets with Croatian flags stretched tightly across their bonnets, honking their horns at each other as workers clocked out for the day early and headed home to watch the game.

For Croatia, it's on the brink of arguably the most shocking World Cup title run in modern history.

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