Published: Fri, July 13, 2018
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

Croatian footballers mobbed the photographers' pit after beating England last night

Croatian footballers mobbed the photographers' pit after beating England last night

A peak audience of 1.05 million in Wales tuned in for England's World Cup semi-final defeat against Croatia.

Mario Mandzukic scored the winning goal in the 109th minute and Croatia shocked England 2-1 Wednesday.

Gareth Southgate's gallant England side have been hailed for their efforts in Russian Federation despite a heartbreaking defeat to Croatia in the semi-final of the World Cup last night.

"I can't ask any more of them than what the players and staff have given. And I don't think after the six or seven weeks we have been together, that we could have given more".

"We were like lions out there tonight and we will be the same in the final". "We left everything out there".

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"We are not putting more pressure on ourselves with what happened in 1998", said midfielder Ivan Rakitic.

"We were louder, they were carrying us, they picked us up when we were not in control of the game", Dalic said of the supporters.

"We have to be proud of what we´ve achieved. I will get more attention and it won't be easy to go out for meals if I am in certain places but it won't change my view on the world or the things I attempt to do". Not that England fans will complain. It hurts, I don't know what else to say, it hurts. Only Uruguay - who lifted the inaugural title in 1930, and again in 1950 - has a smaller population among all World Cup finalists.

"The years of hurt will go on - and for all the optimism raised by England's deeds in Russian Federation over the last month, there will be a burning sense of missed opportunity that will take a long time to erase".

England went ahead with its ninth set-piece goal of the tournament, after Luca Modric tripped Dele Alli, giving England a free kick about 25 yards out in the centre of the field.

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Videos posted to social media saw huge crowds fill the streets in cities across the country after the team made it through to the World Cup semi-finals.

It was a painful defeat for Belgium, foiled at the semifinal for the second time in their history, as the clock ticks on their so-called "golden generation" of players. Did we expect to be in this position?

"We deserved the victory", said match-winner Mandzukic. "Get out on the pitch and then talk, that's what we did".

"There will in time be a lot of positives to take", he added. My word, that is too easy a chance to miss.

England's work in Russian Federation isn't yet done as on Saturday they will face Belgium, who were in their group, in the third place play-off.

But despite the bitter disappointment, captain Harry Kane said England had restored pride during their run to the semi-finals and could use it as a springboard for success.

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