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Croatia to Wear Red & White Checkers in World Cup Final

13 July 2018

From the moment Kieran Trippier put England ahead to Croatia's equaliser, Mario Mandzukic's victor and then the full-time whistle.

Gareth Southgate's side were left deflated in Moscow when Mario Mandzukic's strike in extra time robbed the chance of only a second ever World Cup final.

- Before losing 1-0 to Belgium at this year's World Cup, England had lost just one of the teams' previous 21 meetings (W15 D5).

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

France: "We expect a really tough team in the final, I think they're more hard than England".

"To become a winning team there are hurdles you have to overcame - and we've surpassed many of them".

Saturday's play-off - a match to determine the third best team - will see the two Golden Boot hopefuls go head-to-head in Kane and Romelu Lukaku.

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During its course to the finals, the Balkan nation defeated 2014 World Cup runners-up Argentina, Nigeria and Iceland in the group stages before putting up gutsy performances in the knockout stages.

With such a modest population, they are the smallest country to get to a World Cup final since Uruguay back in 1950. You've had an incredible #WorldCup, made history, and gave us fans something to believe in. "I think he has been the player of the tournament regardless of the result on Sunday".

"But, blimey, we've come through so many important ones and, as I say, I'm really, really very proud of what they've done".

"Ante Rebic said he couldn't play and I told them only those who were 100% fit will play".

"We were planning to leave, but now we have to stay until Monday", said Sinisa Pavlek, a Croatian living in Germany as he emerged from the stadium with a broad smile on his face.

Former players and staff have also posted a series of positive messages after England's run came to an end.

Croatia to Wear Red & White Checkers in World Cup Final