England hailed as heroes after World Cup heartache

Nutmegging Modric snubbed by Welbeck Dele Alli reflects on path to Moscow

England hailed as heroes after World Cup heartache

England were knocked out of the World Cup on Thursday morning (AEST) after a 2-1 semi-final loss to Croatia, one game short of securing a historic berth in the tournament final. The scenes in Croatia's capital of Zagreb were astounding.

England's midfielder Dele Alli (L) and England's midfielder Jesse Lingard (R) react after a missed chance during the Russian Federation 2018 World Cup semi-final football match between Croatia and England at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on July 11, 2018. Prior to 2018, Croatia's best finish in the tournament was third in 1998, when Golden Boot victor Davor Šuker led Croatia past The Netherlands in the third-place match. "Thank you, England": A simple message of gratitude from the Express, accompanied by a picture of Southgate and his players showing their appreciation to the travelling supporters.

In Moscow, Croatia fans said they were taken aback by their side's win.

"It's been great to get to this stage but we wanted to go on and win it".

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And eight years previously, when Germany beat England 4-1 in South Africa, depriving them of reaching the final eight, the general consensus in the media appeared to be that England were outplayed.

"We were anxious", Katich said.

"They want to be involved in scoring the goals and getting on the end of things".

England's last, and only, World Cup victory was in 1966. Keep doing it and I hope this World Cup brings you unforgettable person memories.

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"Soccer, for Croatians, means a lot".

"We've left everything out there and we'll look at the goals and the chances, but for sure I don't think for the six or seven weeks we've been together we could have given more".

Kyle Walker reacts at the final whistle: the England players were "absolutely gutted", he said.

Croatia's World Cup final opponents, France, are associated with the words "formidable" and "dramatic" as well as "lucky".

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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".

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