Croatia reliving the thrill of 1998 World Cup run

England manager Gareth Southgate conducts the fans after his side's win over Sweden

It could have been so much more for this side however as the World Cup victor, either France or Croatia, will bag $38m for their success, whilst the runner-up will scoop a handy $28m.

Starting off strong, England had an early goal five minutes in and the atmosphere was electric.

A gut-wrenching 2-1 loss to Croatia after extra-time denied England a shot at a second World Cup triumph, instead setting up a consolation game against familiar foes Belgium.

As expected, tonight's match proved to be an entertaining one for the neutrals and a stressful experience for English supporters, who have always been claiming that this is the year it finally comes home again.

Southgate admits it has been tough to come to terms with Wednesday's semi-final heartbreak at the hands of Croatia but he insists motivation will not be a problem this weekend.

England had only ever played there once (a 2-1 defeat to Russian Federation back in 2007), and it seems like the curse / losing streak is destined to continue for the time being.

Gareth Southgate's penultimate meeting with the press sounded more like a World Cup debrief than a pre-match news conference ahead of Saturday's third-place game in Saint Petersburg.

But despite his desire to begin work on the next tournament, Southgate conceded he may never recover from the nature of his team's exit from this World Cup.

Wembley will host several matches - including the semi-finals and final - as Euro 2020 takes place across various European cities, and Southgate said: "We nearly have a home tournament, it's going to be brilliant".

All fans were happy their country playing a sport they say put them on the map.

England will make a low-key return home on Sunday, with no team parade planned.

From Captain Harry Kane to Marcus Rashford and others, the players thanked the coach and fans for their commitment and support.

Manager Gareth Southgate said England "left everything out there" after falling to an extra-time defeat by Croatia in the World Cup semi-final on Wednesday.

"I've pretty much lost my voice with the amount of singing I've done, the atmosphere has been brilliant". I think knockout football is about fine margins and when you have good spells against fine sides you need to take your chances. It wasn't the outcome we wanted and as painful as it is right now, I'm sure we will learn an terrible lot from last night's game...

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