Deschamps hails Paul Pogba's performance in France semi-final win

Croatia's Mario Mandzukic celebrates next to an AFP photographer Yuri Cortez after scoring their second goal.

In beating Gareth Southgate's young team, Croatia have surpassed the achievement of the heroes of 1998, who reached the semi-finals in France in their first World Cup as an independent nation.

"But I think within the games that we've played, we've played exciting, attacking football".

"By the end several players were out on their feet and we were down to 10". But we are going to discuss France tomorrow.

"There is still a big step left, so we need to focus again". We were lucky enough to be in that final and we missed out on something lovely. "It was so painful two years ago we have to savor it".

"We are ready for it". Saturday's match is sure to feel like an unnecessary exertion to some, but it offers the chance to secure England's second-best World Cup finish as Sir Bobby Robson's semi-finalists lost their third-place play-off in 1990.

A match that became a long battle between two teams displaying warrior spirit began with a Kieran Trippier free kick within the first five minutes. Croatia had prevailed on penalties in both the last 16 and the quarter-finals, defeating Denmark and then tournament hosts Russian Federation.

Croatia's forward Mario Mandzukic celebrates with teammates after scoring his team's second goal during the Russian Federation 2018 World Cup semi-final between Croatia and England at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on July 11, 2018.

"But I've said all along we're not flawless, we're not the finished article".

"The Croats had a very hard match and they were behind".

'We respected Portugal, but with their routes... We know what he's capable of, but he'd only threatened to show it in Russian Federation. We played a high press on their backline. Blanc wasn't able to play the final match that year after receiving a red card in the semifinal.

Curiously, an Argentine was also in charge of officiating duties the last time that France made the World Cup final. Croatia was 6/4. Odds Shark had France as -210 to win the final and Croatia +185.

"The first half was not good for us".

Vanessa Coleman