Selfless Raheem Sterling proves his worth to England despite semi-final defeat

Peter Crouch celebrates after pulling England level

Peter Crouch celebrates after pulling England level

It wasn't to be, though, with Ivan Perisic forcing extra-time and Mario Mandzukic eventually delivering the hammer blower with just over 10 minutes to play.

Without stopping to converse with English journalists, he simply said: "It's not coming home".

Kieran Trippier's excellent free-kick from the edge of the Croatia penalty area gave Gareth Southgate's side the lead early in the game.

Luka Modric celebrates with teammates after scoring his team's second goal during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group match between Croatia and Nigeria at Kaliningrad Stadium on June 16, 2018. Some of these big matches, you just have to go through them and live them to know how to react in the right moments in the right way. "I can finish my England career knowing that I have played every possible game I can play in the times I have been selected".

Vrsaljko also hit out at the media, with England favourites going into the last-four clash.

"We showed again that we were not exhausted - we dominated the game mentally and physically", Modric said.

In London, an initial wave of elation turned to heartbreak as 30,000 beer-soaked fans in Hyde Park watched their team come up short.

We think this one is self-explanatory.

"Maybe the English team should have respected us more, especially when you consider where our players play their football, but this is football and sport".

Despite the disappointment that comes with defeat, the supporters are proud of the team.

"They can keep doing their stuff and we will play on Sunday."

Kane looks set to claim the Golden Boot as the World Cup's leading scorer, but the Tottenham star rarely looked like adding to his six goals against Croatia.

Southgate's trick, as an ex-international player, was to identify the issues that had blocked England's path in the past.

England's Harry Kane said his team had been opened up and left "gutted" at the 2-1 extra-time loss, but the striker will feel like salt was rubbed into the wounds when he reads what Croatia defender Šime Vrsaljko had to say. "No country on earth would call that anything other than improvement".

That was enough to silence the entire city as it became apparent that England's World Cup campaign would end at the semi-final stage, yet again.

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