Gareth Southgate says England must follow Germany's example

Bev Mountford with grandson Liam Moutford,aged 9 in Southgate Road

But when one World Cup photographer found himself at the bottom of a Croatian pile-on during the World Cup semi-final against England on Wednesday (July 11), he got closer to the action than he might have imagined.

Fans stationed behind the goal roared as a young boy wearing the Peresic name ran a scintillating line from nearly halfway to score in a packed away net.

Follow Al Jazeera's coverage of the World Cup 2018 here.

With sound positioning and good attacking play including a special goal against Argentina, Pavard has exceeded expectation.

The game turned in overtime on two plays - one on which a defender was alert, the other on which a defender was caught napping. To be honest, it might even have been the best in my lifetime.

And eight years previously, when Germany beat England 4-1 in South Africa, depriving them of reaching the final eight, the general consensus in the media appeared to be that England were outplayed.

This time around, we could see the stars play, or we could see some more reserves to get some guys some minutes, and that makes picking here hard. "They have a day off and we'll assess them tomorrow". Belgium and England face off in the third-place match after losing in the semifinals.

We had all got excited and dreamt that it would be us facing France in Sunday's final - but why shouldn't we dream?

"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". What more could we ask for?

There were question marks over Gareth Southgate too, when he was appointed as manager in 2016. In 2000, he retired as a player and spent almost a decade coaching minor Croatian teams.

As well as our first World Cup semi-final for 28 years, our first win in a knock-out game since 2006 and our first win in a World Cup penalty shootout, he has given us hope, and something to cheer.

Meanwhile, in London, an initial wave of elation turned to heartbreak as 30,000 beer-soaked fans in Hyde Park watched their team come up short.

"A couple of weeks ago, I would have taken this result", said another England fan.

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