France favorites as Moscow basks in World Cup spotlight

The Luzhniki stadium is illuminated prior to the upcoming World Cup final between France and Croatia in Moscow

The Luzhniki stadium is illuminated prior to the upcoming World Cup final between France and Croatia in Moscow Thomson Reuters

England dominated the first period of their semi-final clash against the Croats and had taken an early lead via a superb Kieran Trippier free kick, but Kane uncharacteristically shot tamely at Croatia 'keeper Danijel Subasic when one-on-one, before striking the rebound against the post from a tight angle.

"We've finished in the final four, but we are not a top-four team yet".

Southgate's side reached the last four at the World Cup finals with a young squad, and with England having been crowned world champions at under-17 and under-20s levels, he is confident there is more to come. By the time the next World Cup comes around, some of the players will be well into their thirties and Gareth Southgate will already be looking at adding some fresh blood to his ranks.

Captain Harry Kane, leading scorer in the tournament with six goals, will spearhead the attack alongside Raheem Sterling, who has not scored in more than 1,000 days for England, as they look to reach their first World Cup final in 52 years.

"There's some evidence that they can have some success and what that would feel like, which I think allows the players to commit even more to the England shirt".

Jadon Sancho, Phil Foden and Ryan Sessegnon are the key names being linked with a step up to the full England squad, while other younger players who made the trip to Russian Federation will be hoping for more game time in the coming years.

"We have some minor injuries, minor problems, and I hope my players will be ready". Against the very best teams, we've come up short. We can't be more joyous and proud when we see what joy we have brought to the country.

'Win or lose tomorrow there will be a seismic event (in Croatia).

"We now have some big fixtures in the autumn, playing the likes of Spain, Switzerland and Croatia", Southgate said. Now we are in the final and people are celebrating on the streets. This gives us strength and motivation. I started at the bottom of the ladders and in a year I was the best coach in Asia.

"Initially I felt it was important to tell them how proud I was of how what they've done, recognise how far they'd got", Southgate said.

"Nothing was given to me on a plate, unlike some coaches in Europe, who get big jobs on the back of their names as players", Dalic said. We don't care who is on the other side of the pitch.

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