England has broken through number of barriers, says Southgate

England manager Gareth Southgate spoke his heart out following his side's 2-1 defeat to Croatia in the World Cup semifinals.

England players and management applaud their supporters after the defeat to Croatia   -  Getty Images

Gareth Southgate, exhausted after a World Cup semifinal loss, kept his composure as he spoke his heart out, commending the performances put up by his boys.

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"I'm remarkably proud of the group of players and the response from the supporters at the end shows that we have made the country proud. The team has broken through a number of barriers over the last few weeks," he said. "We have just lost a massive game and I don't want to come across that I am moving on too soon. I wanted my players to create memories for themselves and others, because that's what sports is all about. You build friendship with your team-mates and you give everything for your country in a way that it connects with the fans. And the boys have done that. We are still disappointed that we couldn't take the country one step further."

Reflecting on the loss to Croatia, the England manager added: "We played extremely well in the first half as we controlled possession and our decision making was good. In the second half we had little less composure for a period and whether it's a consequence of the head as we are inexperienced is difficult to gauge. We still had a sustained period of pressure and they have some huge experience in their team and they came hard at us. Extra-time was even as we regained our composure but they have individuals who could hurt you and in the end to take two of theirs and we failed to respond."

Southgate, however, promised to put his best foot forward in the third-place playoff against Belgium. "It's not a game any team wants to play. We have two days to prepare and we would want to give a performance of huge pride. We want to play and we want to win whenever we wear the national colours," he said.

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