Monday, 18 February, 2019

Fans in Moscow devastated after England knocked out by Croatia

England France Belgium World Cup final BBCShearer was looking forward to the clash between Belgium and France
Deanna Wagner | 12 July, 2018, 17:18

Croatia will use their defeat in the 1998 World Cup semi-finals to France as motivation in Sunday's World Cup final, says Ivan Perisic.

England's fairytale came to an end in the semi-finals as Croatia recorded a 2-1 victory in extra-time.

"The dressing room is a very hard place at the moment".

"We've proved to ourselves that is possible and we've proved to our country that is possible". There's no question about that.

At England's first two group games there were only about 2,000 fans present each time, but as fears of hooliganism and violence in Russian Federation have so far proved unfounded, and Gareth Southgate's team have progressed further in the tournament than most expected, the dash to Moscow commenced. "But once you're here and played as well as we did, you want to take those opportunities in life".

"But that will be the challenge".

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"But we will do that and we'll make sure we are ready as a group to go again because the group have huge pride in their performances, in the way that they work". When player Kieran Trippier scored an early goal against Croatia in the first quarter, in fact, crowds of England fans erupted in raucous joy.

Few expected England to reach the semi-final stage of the competition and Southgate's men have managed to win back the support and love of the nation with a new friendly approach. "People are crying. It's something historical for us", the Liverpool defender said.

"We might live in a time where sometimes it's easier to be negative than positive, or to divide than to unite, but England: let's keep this unity alive".

The England boss was also asked if the team's leading scorer Harry Kane had exhausted as the tournament progressed and was perhaps missing his cutting edge in the semifinals. It will hurt for a while. It will be a really hard task to assess everybody over the next 24 hours and get them mentally back to where we want them to be for a game like that, but that will be the challenge.

Between kick-off and the final whistle the average audience was 24.3m - the highest average audience for a single game ever, according to ITV.