Gareth Southgate gave England staff handwritten notes before World Cup

Gareth Southgate Paul Gascoigne England

In 1998 France knocked Croatia out of the World Cup in the semi-final, 20 years later the two nations will meet again, this time in the final.

We imagine if - sorry when - England get through to the final, BA and other companies will have to up their game even more.

"We have two days to prepare. I have huge respect for France". "We have made such strides with our supporters and our public that we want to continue to do that".

The physically and emotionally drained Three Lions will travel to St Petersburg for the match following their semi-final defeat, which saw Croatia score in extra-time to win 2-1.

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"We have to keep the same standard", Walker said. Did we feel we would be in this position? "I told the players before the game there was no pressure - we have reached the semi-finals, enjoy your football and this was exactly what we did". But once you're here and played as well as we did, you want to take those opportunities in life. "The dressing room is a hard place at the moment". "But we have our hearts, our pride and our players and that is what is really important to us".

In addition to touching on England's preparations for the nation's biggest game in almost three decades, Southgate took the time to praise World Cup hosts Russian Federation. "Many of these players have come of age and I couldn't be prouder of them". There are a lot of things that have been hugely positive for us. "We've proved to ourselves and our country that is possible".


The England boss was also asked if the team's leading scorer Harry Kane had exhausted as the tournament progressed and was perhaps missing his cutting edge in the semifinals.

"I can't go back for the final though, I've used up all my credits with my wife".

Southgate also said he had not bought into much of the scaremongering about Russian Federation peddled by sections of the United Kingdom press ahead of the tournament.

The Croats needed extra-time and penalties for the second successive knockout game, beating Russian Federation last time, so it wouldn't be a surprise to see them tire at some point in this game.

The front pages are in stark contrast to how England's performance was portrayed in 2014, when the team were knocked out in the group stages - the first time since 1958.

For the Dutch team, it was their first bronze medal in the World Cup after finishing as tournament runners-up in South Africa four years prior.

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