Gareth Southgate defends Harry Kane from semi-final criticism

British Airways pilot Neil Rowe poses with fans at the England Sweden quarter-final match in Samara

British Airways pilot Neil Rowe poses with fans at the England Sweden quarter-final match in Samara Credit Alex Morton Getty

The first half of Wednesday's game had Croatia lagging behind 0-1 after a goal from England's Kevin Trippier only five minutes in.

"Croatia came on strong and they have some outstanding players and some huge experience".

"We let the centre-halves play". In extra-time nobody wanted to be substituted. We haven't said our last word, there is still one more game to go.

It comes after a season where, despite plenty of criticism, Lovren was part of a Liverpool team that reached the Champions League final. "Going to extra-time might be a problem along with the fact France have had an extra day to recover but there will be no excuses", he added.

"We played a high press on their backline".

In Moscow, some England fans emerged from the Luzhniki Stadium in tears and being hugged by others while jubilant Croatian supporters celebrated around them.

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Among the best was Marcelo Brozovic, the Inter Milan midfielder brought into the line-up to provide extra steel in front of the defence.

Asked for the reasons behind Croatia's comeback, Dalic said: "Because we were the better team in all segments of the game".

We'll have to see how the teams look when starting lineups post, but for a second time this cup, Belgium is the favorite against England and should continue to be, unless Belgium rests its stars and England players its big boys.

Yuri Cortez is a chief photographer for AFP Mexico and when Croatia scored their semi-final-winning goal in the 109th minute against England, he was in both the wrong place and the right place at the right time. "There are a lot of ifs and buts, in these games it's small margins".

"It's fantastic, we're so excited", said Christopher Tomas, owner of the Croatian Corner deli, of Croatia's win. Flights from across Europe on Tuesday and Wednesday were packed with England fans scrambling to make the last-minute trip.

NPR's sports correspondent Tom Goldman says today's match is being played against a political backdrop.

He will just be hoping that all of them are fit enough for one last effort against a fearsome French side.

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