Published: Thu, July 12, 2018

England hold their heads high despite pain of World Cup loss

England hold their heads high despite pain of World Cup loss

Croatia fans in NZ party at fulltime.

And then, just when England thought old fears could be dismissed and new chapters of success written, it happened again.

Chants of "we're proud of you" were blasted out as the players lined up in an nearly transfixed glaze at the thousands of England fans filling the stadium.

However, they will take on a Red Devils squad that is widely regarded as one of the most talented they have ever possessed.

"But when you get to this point and play as well as we did in the first half, you want to take those opportunities in life, so the dressing room is a very hard place at the moment".

But barely a supporter left.

England's devastated players could barely drag themselves off the turf as they slumped in front of their fans at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium. You gave the whole nation a lift.

Visibly emotional, Southgate bowed to fans, returning their applause and waving as he soaked it all in. "I've been jokingly saying that football's coming home, but now there's no reason why we can't win it".

About a dozen England fans passing through Heathrow wore dark blue waistcoats over their T-shirts in tribute to Southgate who has taken to wearing a waistcoat on the touch-line along with suit pants and a dress shirt and tie.

England's 1-0 advantage did not reflect their superiority and Croatia, looking jaded in mind and body after knockout wins on penalties against Denmark and hosts Russian Federation, were off the pace.

Mario Mandzukic then scored the victor in the second period of extra-time to break English hearts.

A deflated Kane said: "It's tough". And you know why?

"It hurts and it'll hurt for a while, but we can hold our heads up high". I am delighted that good teamwork has meant we have been able to pull out all the stops alongside Government and other agencies to arrange this big screening.

'We should be proud of how well we did - we're all heartbroken but we can rebuild and do our best next time'.

"We've played our hearts out throughout the tournament".

"And they're just thinking, "we'll get behind these lads". Maybe we dropped too deep at times. The loser of today's matchup will face Belgium in the third place play-off on Saturday at 10am ET.

'Having said that, what I will say is that I am remarkably proud of the group of players that have really advanced.

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