Southgate hails 'incredible' character of England players ahead of Belgium tie

Harry Kane and one of the engraved fivers

Southgate was still a player the last time England reached a semifinal in a major tournament - the 1996 Euro on home soil - and believes the 2018 edition is different than that team.

Southgate's disappointment at missing the final is clear but there is understandable confidence about the future given the improving health of the national game and inspiration this run provide. We saw it the other night against England, where Modric was still running the game late on and showing little signs of fatigue. We've raised expectation but that is OK because we've also raised belief.

First of all the player of the tournament has to be a Croat. "They've seen that now". "That's maybe more important than the performances in some respects", he said.

"This was our problem for 10 years, we had great individuals but no unity and that's why I had to build that unity of goal in the team". "This is something all of us have in us, and it will be in us to the very last moment".

"The team and the individuals will be better in a couple of years' time". Even more than what we thought it would be.

Gareth Southgate's England side did the nation proud as they just came up short in their semi-final defeat to Croatia.

Belgium and England are to close out their World Cup campaigns in a somewhat subdued manner on Saturday with the Three Lions intent on picking their best players for the third-place play-off.

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Both teams are in their second third-place match, Belgium having lost to France in 1986 and England to Italy four years later. To have been able to make a difference is something that will live with us all forever.

"I'd be really surprised if (Kieran) Trippier is out there".

Mr Jex has been in Russian Federation for a week, visiting the sites and scenes of the country when not occupied by the World Cup. "We can't do that now but we want to finish third".

"So, there's that and there's the pride in playing for your country again".

"We got back to St Petersburg at 6.30am on the day after the game, so it has been an emotion-filled few days but the players are incredible".

Harry Kane looks set to claim the Golden Boot as the World Cup's leading scorer, but the Tottenham star rarely looked like adding to his six goals against Croatia.

Croats painting the town red - and white - as they go wild in celebration after their country beat England 2-1 in extra time on Wednesday to qualify for the World Cup final for the first time.

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