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France not expecting tired Croatia in World Cup final

14 July 2018

England still have the third-place play-off against Belgium to negotiate on Saturday, but Southgate has already begun planning for the future.

"In terms of mentality, it's obviously been a really hard couple of days for us", the England manager said.

"It's the game of our lives to play in a World Cup final, a dream I've had since I was a kid". The reason for us being here was to achieve that big goal.

"They see a team that leaves everything on the pitch, which they have, and played with style".

"But I've got to say the players are incredible".

"I don't think it's a factor", he said at news conference at the French training base on the outskirts of Moscow.

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"We want to finish the tournament well". "We've set a standard in how we work and how we play and we want to aspire to that level every time we go out".

"The youth and enthusiasm of the team propelled them back into the minds of their public", said Southgate.

Djokovic is now at Wimbledon, with his semi-final against Rafael Nadal scheduled for later on Friday. Sometimes it's not always a good decision to play if people's energy isn't quite there.

Here's one reason Catholics in the U.S. might be rooting for the small Central European country: Croatia is a deeply Catholic country, and the coach of its national team, Zlatko Dalic, is a man of honest faith.

Southgate said: "The most testing period has been the last couple of days. So, we'll try and get the team that is best able to do the job".

"We were motivated irrespective of that".

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Kane has six goals, despite sitting out England's final group game, a 1-0 loss to Belgium.

In recent months, Infantino has supported calls to add 16 more teams to the 2022 tournament - a plan likely to make Qatar share hosting duties because it is building only eight stadiums. "How can he help the team to progress?"

When I made a decision to play Croatia I followed my dreams. "I wish him all the luck in the world". They have real humility. "I don't think realistically any of us did", he said.

In response to whether he's scared England peaked at this World Cup, Southgate joked he's not even scared of "the big bad wolf". There's nothing better, when people are writing you off and saying you're not fit to wear the shirt, slagging people off, it's kind of saying: "Well there you go - have that back at you", he said.

England were left in the lurch after a gut-wrenching 1-2 defeat at the hands of Croatia after extra-time.

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France not expecting tired Croatia in World Cup final