United Kingdom papers salute 'Pride of Lions' after England exit

United Kingdom papers salute 'Pride of Lions' after England exit

United Kingdom papers salute 'Pride of Lions' after England exit

England manager Gareth Southgate admitted that the World Cup third/fourth place playoff is a game no one wants to play in after his team lost 2-1 to Croatia in the semifinals in Russian Federation.

"You can't win the big trophies, you can't dominate football matches, you can't put yourself in a position where you are not giving the ball away unless you've got good players in midfield who can keep the ball".

Graeme Souness has singled out midfield duo Dele Alli and Jesse Lingard as an example of why England are returning from the World Cup empty-handed.

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"This [Ramsey's contract] is one question for the player, the club, but my opinion - I said to them - I think he is one important player for me".

Disappointment went hand-in-hand with pride as the English media showered Gareth Southgate and his players with praise and sympathy on Thursday after their surprise World Cup run came to an agonising end at the semifinal stage against Croatia in Moscow.

Had Kane added to his six goals in Russian Federation with either of his back-to-back chances in the second half against Croatia on Wednesday (NZT Thursday), when England was dominating and led 1-0, he could yet be lifting the trophy.

"We had hoped [for this] and we believed in our team, but the feeling when we finally entered the finals can not be compared to anything", said Croatia fan Ivan Kecerin.

England had only ever played there once (a 2-1 defeat to Russian Federation back in 2007), and it seems like the curse / losing streak is destined to continue for the time being.

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Italy did not qualify for the World Cup, losing to Sweden in a playoff for which Balotelli was not selected.

In Russia, teams can pay a heavy price for not getting a second goal to reward itself for a dominating period of play. The fans were awesome, " Kane said.

"I think that's maybe something for a couple of days time, at the moment we all feel the pain of this defeat", he told reporters. "It's going to hurt for a while, of course, but we can hold our heads up high".

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