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Published: Mon, July 16, 2018
Sport | By Billy Aguilar

No absentees for England training ahead of World Cup semi-final

No absentees for England training ahead of World Cup semi-final

"All these words from them we take, we were reading and we were saying: 'OK, today we will see who will be exhausted.' They should be more humble and respect their opponents more".

The pride of the Three Lions is restored, and that is down to one man - Gareth Southgate.

In light of the heartbreak, Prince William took to Twitter to commend the England team, writing: "I know how disappointed England must feel right now but I couldn't be more proud of this team and you should hold your heads high".

England captain Harry Kane - who has six goals in the tournament ahead of Saturday's third-fourth place play-off against Belgium in Russian Federation, said: "It's been an incredible run but it hurts to lose, it really hurts".

A country with a population of just four million and ranked 20 in Federation Internationale de Football Association rankings, Croatia is the first team to avoid defeat after trailing in three knockout matches at a single World Cup.

England is the dominant nation in the United Kingdom, with more resources, more players, and more success at a sporting level than its smaller neighbours.

With every player set to be at his disposal, it remains to be seen if Southgate sticks with the same line-up that started against both Colombia and Sweden to reach the last four.

"For these players, many have come of age on an worldwide stage and I couldn't be prouder with what they've done", Southgate added.

Manager Gareth Southgate of England with his wife Alison
Image Michael Zemanek BPI REX Shutterstock

He said: "Dearly Beloved England - thank you very much for lifting our spirits and daring us to hope and believe in you to make the impossible possible!"

England's fans inside the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, and in homes, pubs and clubs across England may have seen their team throw away a lead to eventually lose 2-1 to Croatia after extra-time last night, but they have all fallen back in love with the national football squad.

The victory improves Croatia's previous best showing at the World Cup, which ended in a 1998 semifinal loss to the host French.

"We have two days to prepare".

"They have the likes of Luka Modric in the team - he's a fantastic player - but they have other players around the squad that are going to be hard opponents". We should have killed the game even before extra-time.

"I think, especially physically, it is demanding on the body to go 120 minutes in a game and then obviously you've got to fly back as well to base", he said.

"We've proved to ourselves and our country that's possible".

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