Croatia reach World Cup final as England pain goes on

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For England, it was the chance to return to the final for the first time since its legendary 1966 victory; for Croatia, it was a chance at its first World Cup final ever.

Vecernji's website devoted an unusual amount of space to gloating over the fate of the losing team, with headlines such as "Football's not coming home", "The arrogance hit them back", "The English are sore losers" and even published a photo gallery titled "Look how the English cry after losing to Croatia" with pictures of downbeat players and fans.

World Cup Daily: Croatia's dream goes on while England wake up. That is why is was always going to be hard for them to go all the way.

Harry Kane ran the Croatia worldwide ragged, twice getting the better of him to set Tottenham up 2-0 within the opening 15 minutes, eventually prompting Reds manager Jurgen Klopp to haul him off.

Former Manchester City reject Kieran Trippier, who grew up idolising David Beckham, conjured up an act of brilliance reminiscent of the former England captain. Only this win against England did not go to penalties but Zlatko Dalic's men can look back at some impressive performances, most notably the 3-0 win over Argentina in the group stage, and draw inspiration from it.

Fan footage has emerged on social media showing England attempting to kick-off and score while Croatian players were off the field celebrating their second goal. "We made it to the finals, no one believed in us, every pundit out there was thinking England but we showed the world", another jubilant fan said. "Thank you England for the best World Cup of my life so far".

Meanwhile, England captain Kane struggled to hide his pain, as he admitted his team-mates failed to make the most of their chances to extend their adventure in Russian Federation. We're gutted, you know. We dominated mentally and physically. "It was a fantastic journey, we got further than anyone thought we could, we've just got to learn from it".

"There are a lot of ifs and buts now".

The country of around four million people came to a standstill as Croatians watched the game on screens in squares and cafes.

Croatia became just the fifth team in World Cup history to have played extra-time and then overcome opponents who had not played an additional 30 minutes in their previous game. "We have to be proud". That is why this hurts so much.

As for England, their challenge faded badly after taking the lead in the semi-final and in the end, they simply could not compete against a hungrier Croatia team.

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