England’s World Cup run came to an end on Wednesday and fittingly, it was in a semi-final.
The Three Lions fell 2-1 to Croatia in the last four in Moscow, as Mario Mandzukic scored an extra-time winner to break English hearts.
The defeat was the fourth consecutive loss at the semi-final stage in a major tournament for England.
4 – England have now been eliminated in four of their five semi-finals at major tournaments, losing each of the last four in a row (Euro 1968 v Yugoslavia, World Cup 1990 v Germany, Euro 1996 v Germany and World Cup 2018 v Croatia). Crushed. #ENGCRO #ENG #WorldCup pic.twitter.com/XzAE8zGD5Y
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) July 11, 2018
England fell 1-0 to Yugoslavia in the 1968 European Championship, then lost on penalties to Germany in both the 1990 World Cup and the 1996 European Championship.
England manager Gareth Southgate will now have especially unpleasant semi-final memories, as he missed the decisive spot-kick against Germany in 1996 to send England out.
The nation’s only success in the last four came with a 2-1 win against Portugal in the 1966 World Cup, a tournament England won with a 4-2 victory over West Germany in the final.
Just like in 1990, England will now have to be content with an appearance in the World Cup third-place match, which they will contest against Belgium on Saturday.