England V. Croatia, Winner Will Play France

England V. Croatia, Winner Will Play France

Yet while it was complete focus on the job in hand as the players prepared for what is the most high-pressure game of their global careers, the relaxed vibe surrounding the England base camp in Repino remained.

"A team like Croatia, we know their threats going forward, they have some quality players".

"We had hoped [for this] and we believed in our team, but the feeling when we finally entered the finals can not be compared to anything", said Croatia fan Ivan Kecerin. Now we have a new benchmark, a new level of expectation. "I wanted to make substitutions but nobody would come off. I feel disappointed but proud". "It's a great honour for all the players and the supporters, and I don't think we're really aware of the scale of it just yet". For me, that's what sport should be about. Belgium seems like the safer play, with $100 on the more talented, fresher team netting you $130. The players have played and conducted themselves in a manner that has absolutely done that.

"I know my strengths and I know I'm no David Beckham!" We should be proud of that.

"People are crying, they are happy in our country - this is something historical for us", Lovren said. "But, in time, I'm sure we'll reflect upon the progress we've made".

That's proved to be the case, although they have relied on large part on grit and determination to see them through the knockout stages, beating Denmark and Russian Federation on penalties before seeing off England in extra time.

The Croatia global will be hoping to emerge victorious against France in the final, and the way he helped shut Kane down will give him confidence. 'It's very hard to say anything that will make them feel better in this moment.

Last October, Lovren was taken off by Liverpool Manager Jurgen Klopp just half an hour into a game against Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley, when Kane scored twice in a 4-1 win for his side. Croatia began to get on top, and the Three Lions were punished when Perisic's equaliser sent the match into extra time. "That tells you about the qualities they have".