AFP photographer becomes part of Croatia World Cup goal celebration

Dele Alli and striker Danny Welbeck

"Extra time, I knew it was on the cards we weren't going to win that". Now is the time to be strong as a group and take the time to reflect on the performance a little bit more over the next couple of days.

"The dressing-room is a really hard place at the moment".

It will be the first time an England side has contested a last-four knockout game at a World Cup since Bobby Robson's boys were left heartbroken at Italia 90.

Rhys Masters, from Southbourne, said: "This is the best squad we've had since I've been watching England".

"I'm hugely proud of what we've done".

Croatia had twice needed penalties to get to this stage, first in the round of 16, where they beat Denmark, then in the quarterfinals, where they beat hosts Russian Federation, two shootouts that made goalkeeper Danijel Subašić a hero. "They've broken through a number of barriers in the past weeks".

"It was a very hard game for us", said man of the match Ivan Perisic, who cancelled out Kieran Trippier's early goal with a fine effort of his own.

"We had our flights booked for next Monday - we booked two flights, we weren't that optimistic, we have flights tomorrow as well". We want players at 100 per cent fit.

Vrsaljko, who plays for Atletico Madrid, had struggled to be ready for the match after playing in two previous extra-time matches, but he found the strength to lift his exhausted, battered team to a comeback win.

Goalkeeper Jordan Pickford told ITV: "Maybe we went ahead too early". "We need all the players but they must all be fit on the pitch". We achieved success as a compact team who do not give in, who work for one another and this is maybe one of the best periods for Luka.

Southgate said playing regularly in big matches was a key stage of development for his players and that the way they dropped away in the second half was perhaps a result of their inexperience.

"We showed character and mentality, it was very hard for us tonight".

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