Harry Kane admits England’s World Cup exit will “hurt for a while” after their hopes were dashed by Croatia.
Mario Mandzukic scored in the 109th minute of the semi-final to secure a 2-1 win after extra-time in Moscow.
Kieran Trippier had opened the scoring for the Three Lions with a fifth-minute free-kick before Ivan Perisic equalised in the 68th minute.
It hurts a lot. It will hurt for a while. We can be proud and we’ll be back. Thanks for all your support. #ThreeLions #ENG #WorldCup pic.twitter.com/mJKOWtAOlK
England captain Kane told ITV Sport: “It’s tough. We’re gutted, we’ve worked so hard and the fans were amazing.
“It was a tough game, a 50-50 game, I’m sure we’ll look back at stuff we could have done better but we worked as hard as we could.
“This will hurt for a while but we can hold our heads up, it’s been a fantastic journey but we’ve got to learn from it and take what we can.
“We created some good chances, being 1-0 up we got a little too deep at times and didn’t get enough pressure on the ball. There are lot of ifs and buts. In a lot of games it’s small margins and it went their way today.
“It’s been great to get to this stage but we wanted to go on and win it. We felt we were good enough but have fallen just a bit short.”
Croatia will now play France in Sunday’s final and for England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford it was a case of what might have been.
Was an honour to represent my country at the world cup. The squad we have is a great bunch of lads who are willing to learn and give everything and we can hold our heads high. Thank you to everyone who supported our journey 👏🏾 we dont stop here! ⬆ #ThreeLions 🦁🦁🦁 pic.twitter.com/QuZ6XOmgOj
“It’s an experience for us,” said the Everton stopper. “There’s nothing better than getting an early goal but we needed the next one. We had some good chances but never put them away.
“If we’d got that goal before half-time or in the first 15 minutes of the second half you might have the opportunity to win the game.
“They (Croatia) are a threat going forward and showed a bit in the second half – and we weathered some storms.”
“We needed the next goal to kill off the tie.”
– @JPickford1 spoke to @gabrielclarke05 after @England’s defeat to Croatia pic.twitter.com/QuOJ5Z4D0k
On Croatia’s equaliser, Pickford questioned whether Perisic could have been penalised for a foul on Kyle Walker, adding: “Maybe it was a high foot against ‘Walks’.
“We’ve shown pride and passion. Look at the fans there tonight, there was a lump in the throat and the hairs on my neck stood up watching the fans at the end. They know we’ve got beaten but we’ve come so far.”