Southgate haunted by heartache of England's World Cup exit

Luka Modric reacts during the match between Croatia and England

"I would play the final without a leg if necessary".

The 43-year-old from the small sub-tropical province of Misiones will become the second referee after compatriot Horacio Elizondo to officiate at both the opening match and final after being picked for Sunday's match between France and Croatia.

Ivan Spehar, owner of Ivan's Smallgoods in the Sydney suburb of Chester Hill, had to employ extra staff to keep up with World Cup demand for cevapi, the traditional skinless sausage eaten in the Balkan states.

Neither team has finished a World Cup in third place; England won the tournament in 1966, and finished fourth in 1990; Belgium finished fourth in 1986. And this year was different in that it was the first World Cup in decades without a defining individual performance.

"We set a real milestone and it is exactly what these players deserved", he said after the 2-0 playoff win over England at the Saint Petersburg Stadium ensured Belgium's best ever World Cup finish. When Asia called I did not hesitate, I knew I would get to work with great players. "I am very proud of what all of them have done".

Djokovic Breaks Nishikori To Reach Wimbledon Semis
Djokovic overcame a series of rows with the chair umpire to record a 6-3 3-6 6-2 6-2 victory over Japan's former US Open finalist. However, Djokovic was unable to maintain his level and it was Nishikori who broke for 3-1 and took the second set.

"Today is the seventh game in a short period of time and we've had incredible physical and emotional demands on the least experienced team in the tournament", said Southgate.

Croatia got off to a winning start for the first time at a World Cup since 1998 with a comfortable victory over Nigeria.

"We are in the World Cup final".

"We have this togetherness, this unique unity - not just in football". Gary is a good guy and has a good relationship with us managers at the top teams. Uruguay are possibly the only country on that list that wouldn't have overachieved by making a semi final this summer. This joy felt by people there from day one, when we departed for Russian Federation, was incredible. Now Southgate will hope to build on this campaign, and make his team genuine contenders to win Euro 2020, where a number of games - including the semi-finals and final - are being played at Wembley. "I root for him", Rakitic said.

Dalic has played a decisive role in turning around the culture of the squad, but he faced another challenge in Russian Federation when Nikola Kalinic refused to come on as a substitute in the opening match against Nigeria, saying he had a back injury.

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