Croatia 2-1 England: 11 things we learned


England will play in a World Cup semi-final for the first time since Italia 90, but Southgate insists his life outside of the game will not change if England progress to the final, or even win the tournament.

Here are 11 things we learned.

Vancouver's Croatian community is buzzing in the wake of the country's World Cup semifinal victory against England on Wednesday.

While there had previously been much scepticism regarding the England team, there was widespread support for Southgate's side, with the nation captivated by their progression in the tournament. And England simply trailed off in the second half when it had just 30 per cent of the ball while Croatia cranked up their game.

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Croatia's 3-0 win over Argentina in the group stage was a clear signal that the team led by midfield maestro Luka Modric was a real threat with their clever passing and movement. He hardly had touches in the first half as the English men did well to cut off passing lanes leading to him. "We worked so hard, the fans were awesome, it was a tough game, a 50-50 game, when we look back we will think there's stuff we could have done better".

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. England are happy so sit back and defend. The goal breaks the record of 8 set piece goals which was jointly held by England and Portugal in 1996. That should tell you about the efficiency of the Croats.

Croatia need a goal soon.

Thankfully, it looks like no photojournalists were injured in the celebration of Mandzukic's goal.

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While Croatian players, who have been asked constantly about the generation of 1998 and never fail to express their admiration for the likes of Zvonimir Boban and Davor Suker, those comparisons are a weight they feel is unneeded. They also made good use of the flanks and proved that they are a complete team with all round efficiency. The injuries started to pile up, legs looked gassed and the opportunity to seal it became reality for Mandzukic, who sneaked behind the back of England defender John Stones to score the victor.

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

"The more of these tests we can come through, the better, not just for now, but moving forward".

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