England manager Gareth Southgate reflects on World Cup exit

Lovren Kane

Lovren Kane

"I can't ask any more of them than what the players and staff have given".

England wing-back Kieran Trippier had opened the scoring from a brilliant free kick in just the fifth minute, curling the ball over the Croatia wall and into the top right-hand corner. The opportunity will there for them to win that game, but they were not good enough. Not only did he equalise with a courageous piece of finishing, he took full advantage of Walker's poor headed clearance to flick a header on for Mandzukic to swoop in and send Croatia to the final. It is highly unlikely the first trophy in your career is going to be the World Cup. Croatia started to enjoy their best period of the match, dictating play and controlling possession.

"I am a big fan of Harry Kane and I think he is going to be a superstar, but he just looked a big sluggish", he stated.

In Gareth Southgate, England have a manager who has brought new vigor to the national team setup, and who has managed to transform a side who crashed out to minnows Iceland at Euro 2016 into World Cup semifinalists.

"We gave it everything, I know we're gonna look back and say we could have done this and what but at the end of the day it was small margins in a big game and it didn't go our way today", said striker Kane, now the tournament's top scorer with six goals.

Ultimately, Croatia made it through, recovering from a brutal first half to forge a path to victory by a score of 2-1 in extra time.

Meanwhile, England captain Kane struggled to hide his pain, as he admitted his team-mates failed to make the most of their chances to extend their adventure in Russian Federation.

"As I know, when you work overseas, you feel your country in a different way. It hurts a lot, [and will hurt] for a while".

The Noel Gallagher-written song has become a message of solidarity and togetherness in recent times and it's particularly fitting it was played at the Luzhniki Stadium.

But the Three Lions struggled to dominate for much of the game, with Croatia in possession most of the time. "It was a fantastic journey, we got further than anyone thought we could, we've just got to learn from it".

The country of around four million people came to a standstill as Croatians watched the game on screens in squares and cafes.

Croatia have been taken to penalties twice in the knockout stages and again had to endure extra time against England. "We wanted to give the fans a final, but we have to dust ourselves down and go again in a couple of years".

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