Rakitic Had a Fever on the Eve of England Semi-Final

Brian Botterill giving Gareth the thumbs up in Southgate Road

He missed the knockout stages as he had to rush back to his then Croatian club Hajduk Split for pre-season training.

That tweet, by player Marcus Rashford to his coach Gareth Southgate, summed up what a lot of English fans are feeling this morning following their team's World Cup semifinal loss to Croatia.

Chris Chang leads TVNZ's football buffs in looking at what to expect from the FIFA World Cup final.

Dalic's side beat England 2-1 after extra time in the semi-final, as they fought back from a goal down to progress to their first World Cup final.

England suffered semifinal heartbreak at the hands of Croatia, as goals from Ivan Perisic and Mario Mandzukic overturned Kieran Trippier's opener at Luzhniki Stadium on Wednesday.

"But at our last meeting ahead of the match they all said they are ready".

"Maybe this game has a historic significance".

England was a bundle of nerves and was lucky to get to 90 minutes with the score still level at 1-1.

But Dalic is confident fatigue will not be an issue for his side.

The Stuttgart defender has been a revelation for France at full-back and is one of the most underrated players of the tournament and could earn himself a big money move post the final.

"I'm a man of my word and a proud Welshman, I'll get it done".

Italy's Massimiliano Irrati will be the video assistant referee for the final, with American Mark Geiger serving as VAR for the third-place game.

It was a tactical switch from Dalic that resulted in the equaliser.

Across teams, there have been a number of players who have stolen the headlines for their displays and maybe rightly so but there have been many who put in superb shifts for the team.

"Had we gone in 2-0 up, I don't think there was any chance Croatia would have recovered from that". "They underestimated Croatia tonight and that was a huge mistake".

From somewhere he found the words of encouragement as much as commiseration, when he too was still dealing with the bitter disappointment of knowing how close they had come.

But despite the heartbreak, they and manager Gareth Southgate have reconnected many people with the national team.

"For Croatian football and Croatia as a country, this is history being written", said Dalic. "We felt we were good enough but have fallen just a bit short".

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