Former Sussex schooolboy suffers World Cup semi-final heartbreak

Croatia shrug

But he believes Gareth Southgate's youthful team have learned some valuable lessons in Russian Federation, brought the public back on their side and are on an upward trajectory.

Of the other current teams that came out of the breakup, Slovenia has twice qualified for the World Cup, while Bosnia did so once.

"My most abiding memory has got to be the penalty save against Colombia", he said of his spectacular shootout stop from Carlos Bacca in the last-16. We're gutted, we've worked so hard and the fans were wonderful.

"We beat England in the group stage, so we can beat them now", the defender said at a news conference.

He added: "You should hold you heads up high".

Two years ago, when we lost to Iceland at Euro 2016, the team was booed off and there was a awful atmosphere afterwards of anger and disillusionment. All we can do is try and build on that.

"But the country believes in us again".

The tournament has been a gripping contest between 32 teams who have all dazzled under the lights at the grandest stage of them all. They were on top, they let it slip and Croatia and that superb little footballer Luka Modric had enough experience to take advantage of us on the night. We owe that to ourselves - and I know we will.

England remain in the tournament and still have to play the third place play-off - dubbed "the game no-one wants to play" against Belgium at 3pm on Saturday, July 14.

"I'm anxious, but I've got my fingers crossed", said 27-year-old Charlie Conroy as the clock ticked away. "It looked like as the game advanced, we improved physically and that was impressive".

"It was a tough game, a 50-50 game, I'm sure we'll look back at stuff we could have done better but we worked as hard as we could". It is an opportunity lost. "They have a day off and we'll assess them tomorrow".

Before the World Cup started I said I would give my home up to see Croatia become World Champions!

France, then captained by current national coach Didier Deschamps, ended Croatia's dream run when they won 2-1 in the semi-finals before going on to claim the title.

"I'm feeling really confident", said Danny Stroud, 26, who was among supporters watching the game before Croatia scored their equaliser.

"They can keep doing their stuff and we will play on Sunday". Hopefully, he does well, he is a good friend of mine. "I thought that might be the turning point for us".

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