England hailed as heroes after World Cup heartache

Cheering for England! Mark Holder in Southgate Road

The Three Lions fought bravely but came up just short in extra time as Croatia snatched a late victor to book their spot in Sunday's final with France. I said this in the group stages and I'm thinking, quarter-finals England will get knocked out.

The England squad have been dubbed heroes by the media on the morning after they crashed out of the World Cup semi-final, losing 2-1 to Croatia in extra time.

Fans stationed behind the goal roared as a young boy wearing the Peresic name ran a scintillating line from nearly halfway to score in a packed away net.

But everything about this World Cup has been as good as it could be - the atmosphere, the games, the feeling around the tournament - it has all been top quality.

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

Both of his goals came from set-plays, and given he is averaging 0.29 xG per 90 minutes, he can be expected to get at least one chance in this game.

The French beat the Belgians via a solitary Samuel Umtiti goal in the second half while Croatia came from a goal down to break English hearts and win 2-1 with goals from Ivan Perisic and Mario Mandzukic.

ENGLAND face Belgium in the World Cup third-place play-off on Saturday, but who will start? "They have a day off and we'll assess them tomorrow".

"We are in the final".

"It's not the game we wanted to be in, as a team".

"It was a tough game, a 50-50 game, I'm sure we'll look back at stuff we could have done better but we worked as hard as we could".

Croatia are hardly a team of no names, however, a fact that Dalic was quick to point out when asked if England had disrespected his team with their confidence before the semifinal.

Dalic was only appointed head coach of the Croatian national team in 2017.

The Three Lions' failure to reach their first World Cup final in 52 years was greeted with desolation in the stadium in Moscow.

It is too early for Gareth to think about all of that now, because he will still be raw about England's defeat, but over the next two or three weeks he will reflect on what he has achieved and he should be very proud of himself.

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