Belgium favored in third-place match over England

Remigio Civitarese
Luglio 12, 2018

Croatia, with a population of just 4.17 million, booked their place in the July 15 final at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium by beating England at the same venue 2-1 after extra time on Wednesday night.

England manager Gareth Southgate admitted that the World Cup third/fourth place playoff is a game no one wants to play in after his team lost 2-1 to Croatia in the semifinals in Russian Federation.

"At the moment we all feel the pain of defeat", Southgate said after the loss on Wednesday (NZT Thursday). Realistically, I don't think any of us did.

"Of course it is going to be a really hard task over the next 24 hours to assess everybody and to get everybody mentally back to where we want them for a game like that.

I'm really excited about what this squad can do in the future", said Kieran Davidson, a fan from Stockport who had booked a last-minute trip to Moscow after England booked their semi-final place.

"It's too easy to sometimes move on too quickly".

The Village in Station Hill was packed full of optimistic fans as Gareth Southgate's men played their first semi-final since 1990 against Croatia.

Croatia looked vulnerable from set-pieces against Russian Federation, conceding the equaliser in extra-time via a set-play, so this is an area England can exploit.

"Tonight was a wonderful opportunity for us and you can't guarantee that those opportunities will come again", he added.

On that occasion, the Uruguayans defeated a heavily-fancied Brazil team 2-1 at the Maracana in the final second-stage group game, which effectively served as the tournament's final. We can at least defend two crosses. "Many of these players have come of age and I couldn't be prouder of them".

"Pride of Lions": A more defiant back page insists, "We're coming home but with heads held high" and "our time will come".

"They are favourites, but we will do our best to surprise them".

They were briefly silenced when Croatia equalised through Ivan Perisic in the middle of the second half.

"When you get to this stage of the competition, the margins are fine. they've taken two of their (chances) and we weren't able to respond".

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