Exhausted Croatia train sights on France in World Cup final

Peter Crouch celebrates after pulling England level

Jubilation at an early goal for England in the World Cup semifinal against Croatia turned to disappointment for supporters Wednesday when Croatia equalized and then scored a second goal in the 109th minute.

"Players had run out of steam but that´s partly their age - they´re still physically maturing".

Fans celebrating a Croatia goal in Post Office Bar, Dundee.

England's defeat was watched by more people than the All-Ireland hurling final between Galway and Waterford, any 2017 Six Nations game and Ireland's dramatic World Cup qualifier win over Wales.

"The team improved a lot in relation to previous appearances".

Croatia have now played the equivalent of a whole match more than Didier Deschamps' team ahead of Sunday's final in the Russian capital but must gird themselves for one final push for glory.

"Nobody wanted to give in when I was preparing the first eleven, nobody wanted to say I was not ready in extra time, no one wanted to be subbed and this shows character and what makes me proud".

In hindsight, Southgate might have kept Sterling on the pitch as England's attacking threat was virtually reduced to nothing without him.

France, who boast a powerful mix of youth and experience, will start favourites when they play the third World Cup final in their history after they beat Belgium 1-0 in Saint Petersburg on Tuesday, sparking jubilant scenes in Paris.

Unafraid to call it as he sees it, Dalic will be hoping he can take the next step and bring Croatia to an unlikely World Cup triumph.

"We expect police to identify the perpetrators".

"We've asked for extra police forces to come from other regions", Juan Carlos Fulgencio, the central government's representative in the region of Valencia where Benidorm is located, said in comments emailed to AFP.

"But when you´ve got to this point, and we´ve played as well as we have, you want to take those opportunities in life". "It´s very hard to put that into context and a bit too soon really, because I think you have to suffer the result a little bit".

England flew back to their base at Repino, just outside handsome St. Petersburg, having lost a very big football match but knowing they have recaptured hearts and minds of fans.

"It's going to hurt for a while of course".

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