Friday, September 21

England

World Cup

Gareth Southgate: 'England left to rue fine margins in World Cup semi-final loss'

Gareth Southgate is left to rue the "fine margins" which saw England fall to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Croatia in their World Cup semi-final in Moscow.

Gareth Southgate has conceded that "fine margins" separate teams in knockout football as England fell to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Croatia in their World Cup semi-final.

The Three Lions took the lead in Moscow through a Kieran Trippier free kick, but the Vatreni levelled through Ivan Perisic to send the game to extra time.

Poor defending then allowed the Croats to score the winner, Mario Mandzukic reacting quickly to finish past Jordan Pickford to knock England out of the competition.

"First half we were really good and we had chances," Southgate told ITV Sport. "We lost our way a bit after their goal. Possibly at that moment we were hanging on a bit rather than trying to control the game.

"We got the control back in extra time and showed composure. Knockout football is fine margins. When you have spells in a game against a quality side you have to make them count. We needed a second goal.

"I think we were looking at how we might stem the tide but there weren't clear changes we could make to change it. We just needed to show more composure. We stopped playing for a period of 20 minutes in the second half."

Up next for England is a third-place playoff encounter with Belgium in St Petersburg on Saturday.

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