England manager Gareth Southgate admits the World Cup third-place play-off is a game that no team wants to play, but Saturday's match against Belgium offers the chance to finish the tournament on a winning note.
"It goes to show we're deserved finalists, we want to show the world we play as one and we'll leave everything on the pitch".
Belgium have already beaten us (1-0 in the group stage) so we'd like to address that.
The same goes for the other wing, with Ivan Strinic equally attack-minded and his replacement late in the game, Josip Pivaric, doing as he was told, crossing into the box from the left to give Mario Mandzukic the chance to score the victor and send his team into the final.
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With fourteen laps to go a second safety auto period caused by Carlos Sainz [Renault] and Romain Grosjean [Haas] came together. Raikkonen ended up a close third, after incurring a 10-second penalty. "Sometimes we say dumb s*** and learn from it".
England will now play against Belgium in the third-place match. The players accepted the criticism they received, they took it on board and improved. I can see what we have achieved.
The winger, 29, has scored twice in each of the last three major tournaments for his nation, and has become a crucial figure in Croatia's attacking setup alongside Juventus' Mandzukic, as was proven on Wednesday night when Perisic in particular was a constant thorn in England's side.
"But we've learned from all of the things over the last couple of years and that's a cruel lesson, but, blimey, we've come through so many important ones and I'm really, really very proud of what they've done". "(Our aim is to) build with a system now through the development teams where we've had a lot of success at junior level". "There's a culture that exists now that when we come together, we expect every new player to follow". We'll be well prepared because this is a one in a lifetime opportunity.
But despite his desire to begin work on the next tournament, Southgate conceded he may never recover from the nature of his team's exit from this World Cup. That was just extra motivation for us. "It would be more powerful for him to win the Golden Boot having made that sacrifice".
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"The reality is that none of us know if that's as good as it gets", Southgate answered.
"I was born in 1966 so I'm a World Cup baby". "It's the same as if you're at a big club".
For Belgium, who have a collection of world class players, a win would be the nation's best result at the World Cup. "I don't think realistically any of us did", he said.
England were left in the lurch after a gut-wrenching 1-2 defeat at the hands of Croatia after extra-time.
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"I'm not trying to say these feelings are superior to the ones the French have for France or Russians have for Russia".
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