Fit-again Croatia ready for seismic event, says coach Dalic

France holds breath as football brings nation together

Man United and France midfielder Paul Pogba previews the 2018 World Cup final

They were beaten 2-0 by Belgium yesterday in the third-place play-off match that defeat has done little to dampen the spirit of a nation that was gripped with World Cup fever. Croatia advances to the World Cup finals against France for the first time in Croatian history.

Many of England's players have returned with their reputations enhanced with Southgate highlighting the contributions of Everton keeper Jordan Pickford, Leicester defender Harry Maguire and Tottenham full-back Kieran Trippier, who had little senior worldwide experience before heading for Russian Federation.

'I coached Al Ain, the Real Madrid of Asia, and we got to the final of the Asian Champions League.

Chelsea captain Gary Cahill could well be the next player to fall foul of Southgate's focus on developing a team for the future. In the first game, he talked us up to give us self-belief and told us we were still good players despite this crisis. It's about the team, and the group of staff and the fans. "But from the second half onwards we played much better, and we showed our real standard", said Perisic. "It was a really hard game against France, he had a couple of knocks and was carrying a bit of a pain, but he wanted to be part of the team and to help". "Again they're going to be brilliant challenges for us and it's the only way we can look to improve". He also knows that, generally speaking, we are looking at some other players. We are ranked 14th in the world and have given Gareth Southgate a long term contract because we've said that he has to bet on youth.

"But there were some incredible individual performances for us".

"I think Romelu Lukaku had a fantastic tournament", Martinez said.

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"In the end we are very proud of what we've done".

England exceeded all expectations by reaching the semi-finals only to lose to Croatia 2-1 in extra time.

"We know exactly the areas where we hope to get better". If we were to hold a tournament in ping pong all of us would be rooting for that single player. "It's a great honour for all the players and the supporters, and I don't think we're really aware of the scale of it just yet". I couldn't ask for any more from the players.

Harry Kane ended the World Cup with six goals from six shots on target, but had just one shot on target in his final four games, which was his penalty against Colombia in the round-of-16. But we will attack the tournament.

"I appreciate Romelu's mentality, he's a victor, I don't think he has any worry about playing in big games".

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