Marcus Rashford's heartfelt message to Gareth Southgate after England World Cup heartbreak

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They will meet a French team which eased past Belgium 1-0 in their semi-finals, and which boasts a population difference of around 62 million people more than Croatia.

Harry Kane will likely come home from the World Cup with the Golden Boot as the tournament's top scorer and a burnished reputation as a feared forward.

Zlatko Dalic's team ended England's pursuit of glory at the tournament in Russian Federation with a 2-1 victory against the Three Lions after extra-time at Luzhniki Stadium.

But the team's performance over the past month - with a 6-1 trouncing of Panama, their first ever World Cup penalties win and first World Cup semi-final since 1990 - has seen them reconnect with a disillusioned fan base.

"A kick in the Balkans": The Metro references Croatia as England's tormentors with a pun but insists Southgate's men are "still our heroes".

Alli has not quite hit full gear in the World Cup campaign, but has been vital to the England side nonetheless and did score a header in the quarter finals against Sweden.

Gareth Southgate applauds England's fans after their semifinal loss to Croatia.

Southgate said playing regularly in big matches was a key stage of development for his players and that the way they dropped away in the second half was perhaps a result of their inexperience.

As expected, tonight's match proved to be an entertaining one for the neutrals and a stressful experience for English supporters, who have always been claiming that this is the year it finally comes home again.

"England we're proud of you, that's all I've got to say". What more could we ask for?

"We've proved to ourselves that is possible and we've proved to our country that is possible". I don't realistically think any of us did.

"This was the dream, we could've made it".

John Ryan, 33, from Coventry, was also in the Luzhniki to witness the defeat.

Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford thanked Gareth Southgate for reviving England's "love of football" after the Three Lions' World Cup heartbreak. "Extra time, I knew it was on the cards we weren't going to win that".

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