Sports

Southgate to make 'as few changes as possible' for Belgium

Southgate to make 'as few changes as possible' for Belgium

The World Cup in Russian Federation will definitely not be going "home" to England this 2018 as the finals take place on Sunday, July 15 between France and Croatia, but the Three Lions have offered us an anthem, a hashtag and the most memorable memes with the revival of the line, "It's Coming Home".

England were beaten 2-1 in Moscow after extra-time as they attempted to reach a first World Cup final since 1966.

The two teams previously met in their final group stage game when both had already guaranteed a place in the last 16 - with the twist that the side who finished second would land in the easier side of the draw.

Southgate now faces the challenge of getting his devastated players refocused and recovered in time for Saturday's third-place play-off against Belgium.

"He was was totally on board with us not playing him in the first game against Belgium".

"I mean, the reality is it's not actually my decision (not to hold a parade)", England boss Southgate said.

"Maybe England or the English media did not show enough respect to the Croatian national team, which we deserved, especially when you look at the clubs our players play for".

Regarding the expectations of the Croatians for the success of their selection at the 2018 World Cup in Russian Federation, he indicated that "I know what our people expect, how many people love Croatian football and our team". We have the chance to win a medal at a World Cup, which only one other English team has ever done.

But while Southgate will assess the fitness levels of his players, he does not want to deviate too far from what has become a settled line-up.

"Sometimes it's not always a good decision for people to play if their energy isn't quite there and we've got to think about who can give us the best performance", he said. We'll be well prepared because this is a one in a lifetime opportunity.

"He still sprints in the 115th minute, he tracks back, he leads the team, he is the man of the tournament", added the coach.

When I chose to play Croatia I followed my dreams.

England now holds the under-17 and under-20 World Cup crowns.

The World Cup may not be coming home this year, but they can take solace from the fact that they gave us a song that is unofficially the anthem of the 2018 World Cup in Russian Federation.

"This is an historic game, not just for us but for everybody who is Croatian", Rakitic said.

"I know the messages I have had from back home has helped them see what's possible".


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