A week after arriving home, Max Clayton provides his final World Cup blog.
By Max Clayton (
You can now follow Max on Twitter @maxjclayton)
Looking back on the World Cup now from the distance of being back home, I think it has been a massive honour for every player there to be able to say that they've participated in a World Cup.
I can safely say that it was the best experience of my life; the trip was like a rollercoaster, from scoring against Uruguay
to missing a penalty in the shoot-out and then winning eventually in the against Argentina
and eventually getting knocked out against our old rivals Germany
. They just seem to be edging us in international football at the moment, but I feel this will change in the near future.
To summarise and conclude the Germany game, I would say that you could feel the tension on the pitch and in the stadium and there wasn't one player or member of staff on either team who didn't want to win.
When we went 2-0 down at half time to two soft goals, I think the whole team felt slightly deflated because we knew we didn't deserve to be losing after playing some good football and looking dangerous.
We were all still confident of going out in the second half and that we could bring it back and when the German ‘keeper keeper pulled off the save of the tournament against Nathaniel's shot, that made everyone feel even more frustrated because the ball just didn't seem to be going in.
However, not only did this chance lead to a German counter attack, they went on to make it 3-0. I could feel everyone’s disappointment and it looked like we were going home in Quarter Finals, again.
Although we didn't manage to get back on level terms, we showed great character and masses of determination to go out fighting and try to come back home with pride. which is exactly what we did and I feel everyone at home should be proud of our achievements.
Obviously after the game everyone in the England set-up, especially the players, were immensely disappointed but we could say that we gave it everything and none of the players left anything out there on the pitch.
Off the pitch and throughout the tournament, it seems like we have travelled everywhere in Mexico to get prepared for our next game, which has been a great experience in itself.
Starting off in Mexico City for training we then went from Pachuca to Torreon, Torreon back to Pachuca, Pachuca to Morelia and Morelia back to Mexico City!
But I must say that Team Operations Manager Claire Duggan needs a massive shout-out because she delivered in every hotel we stayed at, making sure everything was the best it could possibly be.
Whilst in Mexico, we played in three great stadiums which on matchday had a fantastic atmosphere. I think the highest crowd we played in front of was nearly 17,000 and most of the time they were rooting for England. The experience of playing in front of thousands of people in a different climate and with different cultures watching you play I feel will be an experience that every player in the tournament will hold throughout their careers.
Overall, I feel that this tournament has made me a better player because in reality, we were playing up against the best young players in the world and doing a fantastic job against all the teams we played. Unfortunately though, we just fell at the last hurdle.
On behalf of all the players, I feel it is necessary that all the staff are thanked for a fantastic trip which was brilliantly organised in everything we did. Every player will take lots of memories from the tournament, whether it be signing signatures every day at the hotel or when you arrive at games, staying with team-mates and having great banter with them for a month and one memory that I can say is that I've played in a Quarter Final of a World Cup, which is an astonishing thing to say.
Thanks for reading my blogs.
Follow me on Twitter @maxjclayton