(USA Today) Croatia has been a high-powered side blessed with worldly gifts in the feet of Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic. It has been outstanding all tournament, despite surviving two penalty shootouts. It has a tight group full of character and toughness and is a worthy finalist.
Sometimes you just have to applaud a glorious moment for another country and England can only look on with a tinge of envy. Celebrating merrily, preparing for a final, cherishing the chance to play for it all; each of those are things England nearly had in its grasp.
The English journey felt different this time, more spirit, more enjoyment, more pride both within the squad and radiating from it. But ultimately, this, the same sweet pain, the kind of which can only be fixed by one elusive thing, that may never come again.