Former Sussex schooolboy suffers World Cup semi-final heartbreak

England celebrates at the final whistle following victory during the 2018 FIFA World Cup match between Sweden and England

Facundo Arrizabalaga EPA via Rex Shutterstock

Their pursuit will continue in the third-place game on Saturday in St. Petersburg.

While Croatia deserve enormous credit for beating England, the truth is the Three Lions could have been out of sight by half-time and Croatia's vulnerability at the back could easily be exploited by this explosive French side.

"I will get it done".

"It's been great to get to this stage but we wanted to go on and win it".

The young England squad achieved what many believed to be the unachievable as they progressed into the semi-final of the World Cup - the first time in 28 years.

Pickford, however, will be remembered for pulling off some of the best saves of the entire tournament, especially during the knockout stages.

The Barcelona midfielder was key alongside Luka Modric as the first-time finalists came from behind at half-time to win, thanks to an extra-time goal from Mario Mandzukic.

"It was a decent save", he said. It said: "The more I see, the more important it is that when 'attacking this tournament" we tell our own story.

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"But unfortunately Croatia just kept coming at us. They were very, very fit".

"It felt big at the time and it still feels big now". But we have won the games that maybe in the past we were expected to win, but didn't.

Scenes after the game were, perhaps unsurprisingly, more subdued than after the quarter-final win against Sweden.

All the players deserve praise, but the highlight for me was the performances of Harry Maguire, Jordan Pickford, John Stones, Kieran Trippier and Jordan Henderson.

"But above all this World Cup was about a group of lads embracing every moment, enjoying ourselves and doing ourselves justice". "Finals here we come - if we are nothing else we are resilient, us Croatians!"

"This is literally what we're all feeling now", another wrote, while a third added: "The tears in my house where unreal my 8yr old twins are heart broken".

However, he was ridiculed during his playing days after missing a crucial penalty at Euro 96 to see England lose on home soil to Germany. They have given us so much to shout about. Now we have to keep improving, and these guys will improve. I'm excited to be part of this team and the challenge to improve going forward.

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