Three reasons why Croatia deserves to win the Final

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England players were quick to share their pain on social media with fans after the defeat, with captain Harry Kane telling his two million followers: 'It hurts a lot.

"He is 32 or 33 and has given me hope this is not my last tournament and I am looking forward to going to the Euros and, hopefully, going to another World Cup as this experience has been fantastic".

"I was in Nice to watch us lose too Iceland, I was in Kiev to lose against Italy".

"If they were, they would have known Croatia are the better team".

@MarkThomas0071 wrote: "If England get through, i will promise you that the 3 lions will be after the blood of the cockerel, we will chew you up and spit you out".

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.

Croatia have already bettered what the 1998 team achieved but they now have an opportunity to beat France in the final and set a new benchmark for the future Croatian teams.

Then Mandzukic scored, giving Croatia the lead for the first time in the match, and there was no way back for England.

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Croatia needed extra time and penalties to overcome Denmark and Russian Federation before outlasting England in another marathon knockout-stage match. What more could we ask for?

No other player in the world has played as many matches this season.

"We want to be in semi-finals and finals and we've shown to ourselves that that can happen".

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

John Ryan, 33, from Coventry, was also in the Luzhniki to witness the defeat. Nobody gave up." Remembering 1998, Ivan Perisic said, "Twenty years ago I was back in Omis, my home town.

Plenkovic, who returned from Moscow where he attended the semi-final, congratulated the squad on a "fascinating success for Croatian sports and football".

"We were planning to leave, but now we have to stay until Monday", said Sinisa Pavlek, a Croatian living in Germany as he emerged from the stadium with a broad smile on his face.

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