Jubilant Croatian fans honked their vehicle horns and let off fireworks after their national football team beat England 2-1 in extra time Wednesday to clinch a place in the World Cup finals against France. The two teams played in the final group stage match with reserves, with Belgium winning 1-0 and earning placement into the tougher side of the knockout bracket as a result.
As Croatia now face France on Sunday to decide who is crowned world champion, England will have a second go at Belgium for the third-place play-offs this Saturday.
Gerrard, who made it to the quarter-final in 2006, said: 'I'm gutted for the players and I'm gutted for Gareth because, as everyone knows, it was an incredible opportunity to go to a World Cup final.
It's been a thrilling tournament in Russian Federation but one pundit has known for some time that England would lose to Croatia in the last four. It's enjoyable, we all love to play the game and fans love to support it.
"At the moment we all feel the pain of defeat", Southgate told press after the big loss on Wednesday. Asked how far he thought the still young England team could progress in the next World Cup, he said: "This far, if not the final".
Although football did not come home in the shape of the World Cup trophy after all, Gareth Southgate's team won widespread praise for their exploits on the field and their charm offensive off the pitch. "Everybody has come. It's the best feeling in a long time".
It's hard to see France losing a second successive final but Croatia's midfield keeps impressing. I don't realistically think any of us did. "For them to still be singing when we're seeing friends and families, chanting our names and singing the manager's name, is completely different".
"Of course it is going to be a really hard task over the next 24 hours to assess everybody and to get everybody mentally back to where we want them for a game like that".