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Virgil Van Dijk sticks his tongue out as he lifts the Champions League trophy. Picture: Getty.

European magic in Madrid gives Liverpool stories a happy ending

There is something unique about the way Jurgen Klopp unites his players. His centre-back, Virgil Van Dijk, alluded to it, but found it hard to put exactly into words. He says things that “touched us,” Van Dijk said. “It’s not like you only play for yourself, you play for everyone who’s been connected, you play for everyone who is always there for you.”

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer revels in Manchester United's dramatic victory in Paris on Wednesday night. Picture: AP.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer proving to be Manchester United’s lucky general

In the lounges of Charles de Gaulle Airport, on the planes before take-off, down the corridors of Eurostar trains, could be heard the sound of replays of Marcus Rashford’s stoppage-time penalty, the voices of pundits sharing their reaction in the studio, the players celebrating in the changing room, emanating from smartphones.

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England defender Kyle Walker battles for an aerial ball with Croatia's Domagoj Vida. Picture: AFP/Getty

England going home: Kane and Southgate rue missed chances

England captain Harry Kane ­believes the players can be proud of their performance at the World Cup despite losing to Croatia in last night’s semi-final. Kieran Trippier’s stunning free-kick gave England an early lead after five minutes, but Ivan Perisic’s second-half equaliser forced the game into extra-time.

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England's Kieran Trippier, Danny Rose, Harry Maguire and John Stones celebrate winning the penalty shootout against Colombia. Picture: Adam Davy/PA

Colombia 1-1 England: Southgate’s men win 4-3 on penalties

Moscow is famous for its Red Square but in England its mention will forever invoke memories of a white round ball and the first time in 12 years they were able to use it to win a major tournament knockout game. And in a penalty shootout, at that. The rarest of routes to England victory, only their second in eight attempts.

Football 41

New priorities but expectation remains same for England

Modern team, modern approach, modern man. People can get carried away with football, especially during the knockout phase of a World Cup and especially on a night like tonight, when England take on Colombia in the last-16, but manager Gareth Southgate has a way of placing everything in perspective.

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