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Mandzukic nets extra-time winner towards England

England gamers “got here of age” in the course of the World Cup, mentioned supervisor Gareth Southgate after their semi-final defeat by Croatia.

The Three Lions took an early lead by way of Kieran Trippier’s free-kick however the Croats battled again to win 2-1 in extra time and attain their first ever remaining.

“There will be a brand new benchmark and degree of expectation,” mentioned Southgate.

“To grow to be a profitable group there are hurdles it’s important to overcame – and we have surpassed lots of them.”

He added: “A lot of our gamers have come of age on the worldwide stage.”

England had the second youngest squad on the World Cup and exceeded expectations to achieve the final 4 for under the third time of their historical past – after 1966 and 1990.

The match was markedly totally different to Euro 2016, when England misplaced to Iceland within the final 16, and the 2014 World Cup the place the facet exited on the group stage.

They led for over an hour on the Luzhniki Stadium however Ivan Perisic equalised after which Mario Mandzukic scored a winner within the 109th minute.

“Tonight was an exquisite alternative and you may’t assure they’re going to come once more,” mentioned Southgate. “However equally we wish to be a group who hit quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals. We have proved to ourselves and our nation that is potential.

“A number of groups who go on to win trophies lose in quarter-finals or semi-finals first.

“For the time being all of us really feel the ache of defeat. I do not assume realistically we anticipated to be right here. However when you’re right here and performed in addition to we did, you wish to take these alternatives in life. The dressing room is a troublesome place for the time being.

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Emotional scenes as England gamers react to semi-final defeat

“I am remarkably happy with the group of gamers – the response of the supporters in comparison with two years in the past reveals the nation are happy with the way in which we performed.”

England face Belgium in Saturday’s third place play-off, with Croatia taking part in France in Sunday’s remaining.

“It is not a sport any group needs to play in,” Southgate admitted.

England gained the World Cup in 1966, whereas Belgium have by no means reached a remaining – and either side have misplaced their solely earlier third place play-off ties.

“We’ve two days to arrange. We’ll wish to give a efficiency of giant delight,” mentioned Southgate.

“Each time we put on the shirt we wish to play effectively and win. It should be a extremely troublesome activity. We have made such strides with our supporters and public that we wish to proceed to try this.”

England captain Harry Kane informed BBC Radio 5 dwell: “It has been an incredible run but it surely hurts to lose, it actually hurts. We wished to go on and win it and we thought we had sufficient to undergo but it surely wasn’t to be.

“In massive video games, small margins make the distinction they usually had a ball that fell their means on the finish and he caught it away. We performed effectively at first and in additional time however we missed a number of probabilities to kill them off.

“There are numerous positives to take from this match. It is a massive stepping stone from two years in the past.”

Proper-back Trippier, who scored the early purpose however went off injured in additional time leaving his facet a person down, spoke to BBC Radio 5 dwell after the match.

“Clearly we’re feeling dissatisfied however we have now grown as a group via the match and dealt with sure video games and a penalty shootout effectively,” he mentioned.

“It’s good to take probabilities within the semi-final of a World Cup and had we acquired that second purpose, issues would have been totally different. They’d their spells within the sport, which we knew would occur, however we’re very happy with ourselves and all the workers.

“It wasn’t meant to be. Tonight reveals how far we have now come as a group and a nation. We’ve related with the followers and I hope they know the way exhausting we tried to make them proud.”

England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford mentioned: “It has been an excellent run. We went forward early and typically you would possibly say it was too early but it surely simply reveals our character, we by no means stopped till the top.

“We maintain our heads excessive and it reveals how a lot we have come on as a unit and as a rustic. Have a look at the followers on the finish, two years in the past it wasn’t like that.

“I hope it is simply the beginning, this match, so long as we hold performing and hold taking part in the way in which we are able to. Tonight wasn’t our night time however hopefully the longer term is vivid.”

He added: “These are the instances you study from. We wish to get to the ultimate, we wish to win it however as an individual and as a group you study extra by not getting via and hopefully we come again stronger.”

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