Gareth Southgate absorbs reality check as England look to the future

Annette Crawford
July 15, 2018

England dominated the first period of their semi-final clash against the Croats and had taken an early lead via a superb Kieran Trippier free kick, but Kane uncharacteristically shot tamely at Croatia 'keeper Danijel Subasic when one-on-one, before striking the rebound against the post from a tight angle.

"We have cleared a lot of hurdles and that can only benefit the team and the nation generally to help us move forward".

The England wing-back believes reaching the World Cup semi-finals has laid the foundations for future success. By the time the next World Cup comes around, some of the players will be well into their thirties and Gareth Southgate will already be looking at adding some fresh blood to his ranks.

Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic is prepared to make changes for today's World Cup final against France if some of his players have not recovered from their exertions in reaching football's biggest game.

The players now have just a few weeks to rest and prepare for the Premier League season, which starts on August 10, but Southgate is sure they will all be ready.

"But if not, we have excellent players on the bench".

"We can only be happy and proud that despite the crisis, Croatians have put aside the problems and the hardship", said Dalic.

We win together and we lose together.

"But maybe. Now we have to try to do something big". When Asia called I did not hesitate, I knew I would get to work with great players.

Many of this generation of Croatian players grew up during the war following the break-up of Yugoslavia, however, and that have given them a mental toughness.

"It doesn't only concern the 23 players, our coach, the staff, the physios, doctors, journalists, but the 4.5 million people back home".

"When Croatia called I never had any doubts or dilemmas".

"It's been proper teamwork, I think, that people have felt in previous tournaments has been lacking".

He said: "I think it's the reconnecting with the England fans (that has stood out), the fact that fans got really excited by the way we played, the way the England team have shown up - team first, individuals second".

On Sunday, he will test his coaching skills against Didier Deschamps, the captain of France's 1998 World Cup-winning side, whose coaching career began at Ligue 1 side Monaco immediately after his retirement as a player.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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