Harry Kane hurting but proud of England's World Cup campaign

Wednesday 11 Jul 2018
Harry Kane looks dejected after England's World Cup semi-final defeat

Harry Kane said England players should “hold their heads up high” after the agonising World Cup semi-final defeat by Croatia.

Gareth Southgate’s charges won the hearts of the nation as they stormed to the last four of Russia 2018, breaking record after record along the way.

Things started so well in Moscow when Kieran Trippier fired the Three Lions ahead with a sublime free-kick after just five minutes.

Croatia 2-1 (aet) England
  • FIFA World Cup
  • Semi-Final
  • Wednesday 11 July 2018
  • Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow
But Croatia grew into the game after the break and Ivan Perisic levelled midway through the second half.

And Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic won it for Zlatko Dalić’s side in extra-time.

England skipper Kane said: “It hurts. It hurts a lot and it’s going to hurt for a while.

“But we can hold our heads up high. It was a fantastic journey. We got further than anyone thought we would have, so we’ve just got to learn from it and take what we can.

“We’re gutted. We worked as hard as we could.

“It was great to get to this stage and we know we’ve done everyone proud but we wanted to go on and win it. We felt we were good enough but we were just a bit short.”

He continued: “It shows that we can win knockout games, we can get to semi-finals.

“The next step now is to go one further. It’s a great foundation that we’ve built over the last couple of years so we’ve just got to carry that on. We’re proud of what we’ve achieved but we want more.

Gareth Southgate applauds the England fans in Moscow

“We’re sad that we couldn’t give the fans here and back home a final, but we have to dust ourselves down, be proud of what we’ve achieved and go again.”

Kane, tournament top scorer with six goals, couldn’t put his finger on went wrong in the Luzhniki Stadium, but acknowledged the quality in Croatia’s star-studded side.

He added: “It was a tough game. I’m sure we’ll look back and see that there’s stuff that we could have done better.

“There’s a lot ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’, but in these games it’s small margins. It went their way today.

“There’s a lot we could have done better but they played well. They made it difficult for us.”

England will now face Belgium in the third-place play-off at 3pm BST on Saturday afternoon.

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By Glenn Lavery