England V. Croatia, Winner Will Play France

Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on a visit to Ashford in 1973

Sadly, it just wasn't meant to be for England at the 2018 World Cup.

England head coach Gareth Southgate, center left, embraces England's Dele Alli at the end of the semifinal match between Croatia and England at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, July 11, 2018.

When they said this was an experimental tournament for a young England side, Southgate refused to swallow that.

Kieran Trippier's early free-kick in the semi-final against Croatia on Wednesday gave the Three Lions their ninth set-piece strike of the tournament.

But British Airways, which has seen a 700 percent increase in searches for flights to Russian Federation on its website since England's penalty shootout win over Colombia last week, has now released hundreds more seats on Moscow flights by using bigger planes.

In the stadium that can still echo to the memories of the legendary middle distance battles between Steve Ovett and Sebastian Coe at Moscow's 1980 Olympics, England stumbled with the finishing tape in sight.

Then, Ivan Perisic found a way to equalise in the second half, his effort close to being called illegal for the high foot, and the Croats again hit the post as they found another gear.

"My father actually played for former Yugoslavia, and I know my brother played for a long time, so yes, it's a bit of a tradition".


The Croats are headed to their first World Cup final ever, if they can just stay on their feet for a few more days.

Croatia fans in NZ party at fulltime.

But the sense that history was in the making brought them here to Moscow in force for this semi-final. Suddenly, England looked like the exhausted ones.

Faced with another 30 minutes of battle Southgate addressed his players once more, going first to John Stones and then to Ashley Young, Kane, Kyle Walker and Jordan Henderson.

They'll have a little less than four days to rest up for the final against France, which has finished all of its games in regulation and has an extra day to prepare, having beaten Belgium on Tuesday.

England faltered at that third hurdle with a World Cup final beckoning - the good work undone by exhausted legs and perhaps a withdrawal of ambition to protect a precious lead. "We need all the players but they must all be fit on the pitch".

"We were anxious", Katich said.

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