Croatian players crash into photographer, kiss him madly while celebrating victor

England's forward Harry Kane applauds at the end of their 2018 World Cup quarter-final match against Sweden at the Samara Arena in Samara

He also said that he would be flying to Russian Federation to watch the final, adding: "I'm just waiting on my visa".

At least, England looked like they were poised to get back to their first World Cup final in 50 years and give the players a chance to bring the trophy home to one of the most soccer-crazed countries on the planet.

Croatia captain Luka Modric conceded a free kick with a clumsy challenge on Dele Alli and Kieran Trippier superbly curled home the set piece for his first worldwide goal.

Alas, it was not to be.

When England don't have the ball, they struggle against teams who are comfortable with it.

Others looked to the future, with BBC journalist Jeremy Vine tweeting: 'On the upside, Gareth Southgate is now free to be prime minister'. The average age of the English squad was under 26, the joint-youngest in the World Cup tournament, and only three of the current players - Ashley Young, Jamie Vardy, and Gary Cahill - are over 30. Harry Kane, the captain, is just 24. There is still one game to play and the most important of our careers.

Four things we learned from FIFA World Cup quarters
The 2018 FIFA World Cup Croatia vs England Semi-final will be played at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow , Russia. France and Belgium will contest the other last-four tie in Saint Petersburg on Tuesday.

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.

The Lightning Seeds are set to perform their Three Lions anthem ahead of the England vs Croatia match, which is being screened at Hyde Park today (11 July). But the squad that England fielded in 2018 seemed like a completely different team, despite comprising numerous same players.

Croatian players left a pitchside photographer sprawled out on the floor as they celebrated Mario Mandzukic's goal in extra time which handed them a World Cup semi-final win against England.

Gareth Southgate's emerging side were 45 minutes away from England's most significant game in 52 years as the voices of their supporters rose in an expectant roar inside the vast Luzhniki Stadium. The waistcoat-wearing coach has transformed England's prospects, and he seems sure to stick around. A strategic plan launched in 2016 is targeting having "England men's and women's senior teams ready to win in 2022 and 2023".

England won their opening game at a major tournament for the first time since the 2006 World Cup.

"Two years ago, I remember what happened two years ago", Deschamps said, via Reuters. "It shows we can be up here". If I'm honest, I don't think there are many England players who would get into this Croatian team. We have to carry that on.

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