Croatia Sacks Coach Ahead of Semi Final Clash with England

GETTYEngland team celebrate after victory against Colombia

GETTYEngland team celebrate after victory against Colombia

After joining Federation Internationale de Football Association in 1992 and then UEFA in 1993 following the break up of Yugoslavia, Croatia made an instant impact at their first World Cup finals when they reached the 1998 semi-finals.

"It was a very hard game".

"I just believe we can come back another time, and I hope before I die I see England win the World Cup", Ogunde said.

"The team haven't really played much together either".

"I would like to thank everyone who came to support us in Moscow and everyone back home in Croatia who are sending their incredible support to us".

Politicians also added their praise, with Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn tweeting: "A heartbreaking way to go out but won't forget what a great tournament it's been for England".

What a journey it has been.

As the Tottenham full-back remarked only last week when he was compared to David Beckham, "not bad for a lad from Bury".

The Croatian squad tied the score late into the second half after its striker Ivan Perisic put the ball into the net of the opponents.

"We just weren't good enough at the end of the day". England coach Gareth Southgate all but conceded he wanted to lose that one so as to avoid a harder route to the semifinal, and his strategy worked, right up until Croatia's Mario Mandzukic beat England 'keeper Jordan Pickford in the 109th minute Wednesday night.

It is defined by what he achieved in this insane, bone-dry summer of 2018, and by what he has suddenly made seem possible.

England's journey does not finish here, even if the last thing anyone wants is another meaningless encounter with Belgium this weekend.

Three Lions has become the anthem of England's World Cup campaign but Gareth Southgate has revealed that such was the pain of his penalty shoot-out miss at Euro 96, when the song was first released, that he could not bear to listen to it again.

But the third-place match can hold some surprises: The record for the fastest goal in World Cup history still belongs to Turkey's Hakan Sukur, who buried one 11 seconds into the third-place game against South Korea in 2002.

The clock is already counting down, but it does so now with a far greater sense of objective and with Southgate and his players moving forward as one.

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