Watch How Gareth Southgate's Three Lions Lost to Luka

'Croatia are the best team we have faced yet' – Southgate on England's semi-final opponents

Kieran Tripper gave the Three Lions a ideal start in their semi-final against Croatia with a superb free-kick.

A goal in the second half from Ivan Perisic forced extra time, and Mandzukic's strike destroyed England's dream run short, as a team that surpassed expectations and has a bright future failed to really play well after the break.

Croatia was supposed to be a exhausted team coming into the match.

The game went to extra time after neither side could find a victor in normal time, where Croatia continued their dominance. But if anything, the grueling lead-up to the clash against England solidified Croatia's mental toughness, which served the Croats well on Wednesday.

Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper believes England have "moved forward into a brighter age". England has scored 9 goals from set-pieces.

The victory is historic for Croatia, the second smallest nation to make the World Cup final after Uruguay, but it's no fluke.

Vrsaljko, who plays for Atletico Madrid, had struggled to be ready for the match after playing in two previous extra-time matches, but he found the strength to lift his exhausted, battered team to a comeback win.

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The prime minister will have a crunch meeting with members of her Tory party to discuss her plan in Parliament on Monday evening. He said he was anxious the government's negotiating approach would "lead to further demands for concessions" from Brussels.

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The Three Lions leave for Russian Federation on Tuesday before next Monday's Group G opener against Tunisia in Volgograd. It will be intriguing, though, to see how they cope with the pressure once the competition gets underway.

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He will now face Austrian qualifier Dennis Novak , who surprised France's 16th seed Lucas Pouille 6-4, 6-2, 6-7, 3-6, 6-2 today. He said he "felt good" and "less nervous" than he did in his previous match, his first-round win over Dušan Lajović on Monday.

Croatia continued to probe and following a lack of concentration in defence, Mario Mandzukic pounced on a lose ball and hit a left-footed strike beyond Jordan Pickford's reach.

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It did reveal every player from the four remaining teams - England, France, Belgium and Croatia - had been tested 4.41 times since January, with some tested eight times. But this English team won't be returning from Russian Federation with the proverbial tail between the legs.

"The all-round perception was that this is a new-look England who have changed their ways of punting long balls upfield but when we pressed them it turned out that they haven't", Vrsaljko said. It's been a fantastic journey. Croatia are playing exactly how you would expect a side that are burdened by the fatigue of playing back-to-back games that didn't finish in normal time.

Coach Gareth Southgate also lamented his team not making their early dominance decisive.

There have been one or two issues with the Croatia squad that have caused controversy, but certainly not enough to boot them out of the tournament. And work apparently is not a problem for a team that made history Wednesday with its grit and effort and mental strength.

"The Fiery Ones are in the final, the nation is in a trance - one more step to the title!" said the Jutarnji List, using the team's nickname. But it's becoming abundantly clear that labels such as "underdog" or "tired" don't fit this Croatian team.

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