Published: Fri, July 13, 2018
Sport | By Patty Hardy

Three Lions defender won’t scoff at third-place in FIFA World Cup

Three Lions defender won’t scoff at third-place in FIFA World Cup

Little Harry held his head in his hands as he stood in front of the TV in sheer shock, when it was revealed Gareth Southgate's team wouldn't be making it into the final.

England's defender Kyle Walker, right, claps during the Russian Federation 2018 World Cup semi-final football match between Croatia and England at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on July 11.

"We were planning to leave, but now we have to stay until Monday", said Sinisa Pavlek, a Croatian living in Germany as he emerged from the stadium with a broad smile on his face.

The Three Lions lost 2-1 to Croatia in the semi-final, bringing to an end a journey that inspired - and surprised - many fans.

There's still the small matter of a World Cup final of course, and we feel France are deserving favourites to win Sunday's showpiece.

Croatia's World Cup final opponents, France, are associated with the words "formidable" and "dramatic" as well as "lucky". That connection between the team and the fans is back, which shows how far we have come.

England are heading home, or at least they will after Saturday's third/fourth place play-off against Belgium, which is a complete and utter waste of time.

"They have had a view of what's possible and that was my experience in my first tournaments with England". To everyone who believed this time was different.

Both had already qualified for the round of 16 when Belgium beat England 1-0 in the last game of the group stage on Adnan Januzaj's curling shot in a game likened to a friendly thanks to 17 lineup changes. Well, I would sacrifice many things!

The biggest concern for Croatia ahead of Sunday's final is fatigue, as they also required extra time and penalties to come through against Denmark in the last 16 and hosts Russian Federation in the quarter-finals. Two campaigns where England reached the semi-final stages and new systems were introduced afterwards.

Francisco says that his favourite player was Ivan Klasnic and that he will always remember him and all the difficulties he went through with his health. He knows England's defenders well from the Premier League and will offer a signficant test of pace and strength for a backline that played 120 minutes in the semifinals and has had one day less to rest.

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