Sports

Jubilant Croatia fans revel in World Cup semi-final win over England

Jubilant Croatia fans revel in World Cup semi-final win over England

Some fans claim Croatia seemed to get away with a load of fouls, while England were immediately carded for lesser ones.

"The players have to go through big matches and experiences to become a team that can win".

"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.

Croatia's exhausted and battered players set their sights on the World Cup final against France on Thursday as England reflected on a missed opportunity to end more than half a century of pain.

The first half of the stadium ban was served when Croatia beat Bulgaria 3-0 in a behind-closed-doors game in October 2015 and England will share the pitch with the World Cup finalists at an empty ground in just a few months in the second game of Croatia's punishment. "Those friendlies were a huge help so that now here we are about to play the final". That is why we are a miracle and I hope this miracle lasts as long as possible.

One game behind closed doors has already been played against Bulgaria but the clash with England will be their next competitive home game played under UEFA's watch and the ban will therefore carry over. "We knew what they were doing and where", he said. After the match, Barcelona and Croatia star, Ivan Rakitic, revealed that he had played the semi-final despite suffering from a very high fever the previous night and failing to completely recover in time. "Even out there the fans singing after a defeat, it's a proud feeling".

Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper believes England have "moved forward into a brighter age".

Fatigue. Three games going to extra-time and one day less to rest: "We could the only team to win after having played the equivalent of eight games (for the extra 90 minutes Croatia have had to play in total)". "The World Cup may never open up so obligingly again", the paper said.

Prince William took to the official Kensington Palace Twitter account to hail the England side following the defeat.

It was England´s best performance at a major tournament since Southgate was part of the team that reached the semi-finals at Euro ´96.


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