Gareth Southgate gave England staff handwritten notes before World Cup

Cheering for England! Mark Holder in Southgate Road

Cheering for England! Mark Holder in Southgate Road

England's hopes of reaching only their second ever World Cup final were dashed by Croatia, as Mario Mandzukic scored the deciding goal in a 2-1 extra-time win for Zlatko Dalic's side on Wednesday. "I hope they have the opportunity again with 20 minutes to go from a World Cup final".

Down to two, both teams are unbeaten in the tournament as they contest for the most prestigious trophy in world football.

Fans stationed behind the goal roared as a young boy wearing the Peresic name ran a scintillating line from nearly halfway to score in a packed away net.

Towering defender Harry Maguire has risen to cult hero status at the World Cup and he has had an army of family and pals following him around during the tournament.

"They played their best, it obviously wasn't to be".

They booked their place in the final by seeing off England 2-1 after extra time, making light of the fact that the Three Lions hail from a land with a population of around 53 million.

Politicians also added their praise, with Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn tweeting: "A heartbreaking way to go out but won't forget what a great tournament it's been for England". We weathered a lot of storms out there.

"The players found it hard to cope with the pressure in that game".

England will play Belgium in the third-place play-off match on Saturday before coming home to what is expected to be a hero's welcome.

"Semi-finals, they've done what they had to do, they took us to the semi-finals. We felt we were good enough but have fallen just a bit short".

"I am immensely proud by the way the players have played and we can see by the reaction of the supporters, they felt the same". They have given us so much to shout about. In 2000, he retired as a player and spent almost a decade coaching minor Croatian teams.

Gareth Southgate says England need to follow Germany's example from 2006 and the progress they have made since then.

"But equally we want to be a team that's hitting quarter-finals, semi-finals, finals - that was what we've aimed to do in the long term and we've proved that is possible".