Too early to take positives for proud England boss Southgate

Croatia have won both of their knockout matches at the tournament so far on penalties

Three Lions had been the soundtrack to the summer, with supporters optimistically rejoicing in the chorus of "It's Coming Home".

From the moment Kieran Trippier put England ahead to Croatia's equaliser, Mario Mandzukic's victor and then the full-time whistle.

Mandzukic's goal in Moscow's Luzhniki stadium on Wednesday sealed Croatia's spot in the final, surprising even some fans with the result, while dashing England fans' once improbable dreams of a first World Cup final in more than 50 years.

Asked why his side had won, Dalic said: "Because we were the better team in all segments of the game".

"Did we expect to be in this position?"

"But regardless of that, I think the football across the board has been really exciting, really entertaining, and the hosting of the tournament and the cities that have hosted it has been outstanding".

"But when you've got to this point and we've played in the way we have, and as well as we did in the first half, then you want to take those opportunities in life".

"So, the dressing room and all of the staff is (in) a very hard place at the moment".

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"The honest thing is it's not a game any team wants to play in", manager Gareth Southgate said.

"Coach Zlatko Dalić has done a wonderful job, all the players are united and they're playing well".

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

"But we will do that and we'll make sure we are ready as a group to go again because the group have huge pride in their performances, in the way that they work". "Everyone was nervous, but when they got a second goal, everyone took so much confidence, everyone was up in the air, the club was full, there was a great atmostphere".

"They have broken through a number of barriers over the last few weeks".

The reaction of the supporters at the end compared to two years ago tells them that experiences with England can be positive, that the country are very proud of what they've done and the way they've played, and there will in time be lots of positives to take.

That the nation will be backing them to gain revenge for the World Cup semi-final loss to France in 1998 is without question, as is the fact that there will once again be an army of fans decked out in red and white checks at the Luzhniki Stadium. They should have turned up, it's the semi-final of a World Cup.

Customer Dean Lovett, who was checking in, said: "It's going to be really tight when I get there".

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