England icon slams third place play-off

13 July, 2018, 09:41 | Author: Malcolm Quinn
  • England's coach Gareth Southgate celebrates after winning the quarter-final match against Sweden on July 7

Mario Mandzukic scored in the 109th minute of the semi-final to secure a 2-1 win after extra-time in Moscow. Down to two, both teams are unbeaten in the tournament as they contest for the most prestigious trophy in world football.

If they had beaten Croatia, England would have reached only their second World Cup final.

Fans stationed behind the goal roared as a young boy wearing the Peresic name ran a scintillating line from nearly halfway to score in a packed away net.

Croats in Bosnia, where they make up 15 percent of the population, also supported the Croatia team, but Bosnian political analyst Zoran Kresic detected something deeper, saying the support "has unified the region and Bosnia for the first time since the bloody wars".

"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. Croatia were better than us, and they deserved to go through.

Another right full-back, 22-year-old French defender, Benjamin Pavard's inclusion in the French squad for the World Cup drew a lot of criticism from fans across the globe.

Every time a major tournament comes around, a familiar refrain is heard in the region: "If only Yugoslavia was one country, imagine the awesome team we could have".


I was sitting in the middle of our supporters and it was great to see, despite the disappointment of the result.

Croatia take on France in Sunday's World Cup final in a rematch of the 1998 semi, in which Les Bleus triumphed 2-1.

"I'm anxious, but I've got my fingers crossed", said 27-year-old Charlie Conroy as the clock ticked away.

Much of the talk was about whether finishing first or second in Group G would open up easier games.

"I'd be amazed if we didn't learn in the next few days that Kane wasn't carrying an injury since the Colombia game".

England take on Belgium for the third place playoff on Saturday, so don't pack away your England shirts just yet. "I have always wanted to be a football player of the Croatian national team like Eduardo da Silva, unfortunately, I could not fulfill that dream, now my biggest dream is to be the coach of the Croatian national team!" - Belgium and England are the first teams to face each other twice at a World Cup tournament since Turkey played Brazil twice at the 2002 World Cup.

In-fact, 72% of England's goals have come from set-pieces.

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