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England lose FIFA World Cup 2018 semi-final to Croatia but win hearts

England crashed out in the FIFA World Cup 2018 semi-final when a gritty Croatian team came back to net two goals to make it to a World Cup final for the second time

football Updated: Jul 12, 2018 12:39 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
FIFA World Cup 2018,England football team,Croatia football team
England's coach Gareth Southgate (L) comforts players at the end of the FIFA World Cup 2018 semi-final against Croatia.(AFP)

England and their fans did everything they could — from putting in their best on-field performances to creating the feel-good factor of ‘it’s coming home’ in this World Cup in Russia.

However, it was not meant to be so.

READ | Croatia can take 1998 World Cup revenge vs France in final: Coach Dalic

The Three Lions crashed out in the semi-final when a gritty Croatian team came back to net two goals to make it to a World Cup final for the second time, prolonging England’s wait to play in the summit clash of the world’s most famous sport.

Kieran Trippier’s free-kick that beat Croatian goalkeeper Danijel Subasic provided England an advantage right at the start of the proceedings in Moscow on Wednesday night, but Croatia kept fighting till the end to clinch a win.

Ivan Perisic’s equaliser in the 68th minute and Mario Mandzukic’s goal in the 109th minute left English hearts in tatters, as the millions in the country truly believed they could end their 52-year wait for a World Cup trophy.

READ | Croatia on fire after ‘miracle’ entry into FIFA World Cup 2018 final vs France

The social media was flooded with emotions from all corners, with some expressing their commiserations to England as well as heaping praise, while some hinting that the Three Lions overdid their ‘it’s coming home’ campaign.

English footballer Daniel Sturridge wrote a heart-felt message for the fans, appealing them not to criticise the team.

Former England player Gary Lineker praised the English team in their defeat.

England captain Harry Kane, who has remained the tournament’s leading scorer, said the defeat will hurt for a while.

Theo Walcott said England team made their country proud.

Even the cricket fraternity had some interesting reactions to make post England’s defeat.

Former Australian cricketer Jason Gillespie, who has coached several County cricket teams, praised the English side.

While Sachin Tendulkar and Harbhajan Singh had expressed their support for England, Gautam Gambhir was rooting for the Croatian team.

Former Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar felt England should have defended better towards the end.

David Warner made a fan realise the reason behind him supporting Croatia in a touching manner.

The defeated English football team will now face Belgium in a clash for the third place on Saturday. Belgium had lost to France in the first semifinal.

France will take on Croatia in the final on Sunday, July 15.

First Published: Jul 12, 2018 12:38 IST