Friday, 22 February, 2019

Southgate aims to build on England's semi-final run

Croatia v England – FIFA World Cup 2018 – Semi Final – Luzhniki Stadium Southgate walked back out onto the pitch after the game
Kristopher Love | 16 July, 2018, 04:44

Another solid performance from what was a much-changed Croatia saw them top the group with a 100 per cent record.

The Croats needed extra time in every one of the knockout rounds and that means they have played 90 minutes more football, or effectively an entire game, than Les Bleus, who finished all of their knockout games within regular time.

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"They've been unbelievable the whole tournament but at the end of the day, it was our best chance ever and we haven't taken it", Reece said.

Despite Kieran Trippier giving England an early lead, Croatia clawed their way back into the game and edged past Southgate's side after extra time. However this just feels like France's time.

How England have fared in the World Cup since 1966

England are not where they want to be and find themselves preparing for a match which no team wants to play in after Wednesday night's semi-final loss to Croatia. "Belgium have already beaten us (1-0 in the group stage) so we'd like to address that". Antoine Griezmann has been a profitable friend to this column throughout Russian Federation 2018, and the mercurial striker looks a bet at 4/1 to score first. The decision was taken after talks between FA staff and Southgate where it was decided the squad wanted to keep a low profile given they failed to win the tournament. Grizou looks to be playing at the absolute peak of his powers and he has the ability to get the party started on Sunday.

A country with a population of just four million and ranked 20 in Federation Internationale de Football Association rankings, Croatia is the first team to avoid defeat after trailing in three knockout matches at a single World Cup. "Croatia deserved to win", Mark Burcher, 50, said.

Yeh exactly. But hey, a third placed play-off is nothing to be dismissive about!

"Everyone gets on well and if you've got that off the pitch you can take that onto the pitch". Historically these matches are usually good for a few goals, so a 3-2 win for Belgium in St Petersburg might be the way to bet.