AIWA! We Press: It is painful for everyone. But it is a fact. Football is about winning and losing. And today England lost because of this simple fact.
On a night of almost unbearable tension, Mario Mandzukic’s well-taken goal in the second half of extra-time was enough to end all the unlikely English dreams and secure Croatia a World Cup final with France.
What do we need to do to move forward, further than where we have reached, where we are here and beyond? Plan, invest, build and train: academies, coaches , managers and players. And communities. England should not see themselves as a football team whose destination at competitive levels is always failure. Come on! Football was invented in England after all.
Gareth Southgate, the understated manager, has transformed the nation’s relationship with its football team.
He has managed to unify us where everyone else has failed; and he has gone beyond football at that. He made English football more personable to fans and the media. Commonality and a bit of national pride; one’s identity.
And when the dust has finally settled Gareth Southgate’s The Three Lions Warriors were beaten by the better team – although there wasn’t much in it for anybody.
But England have exceeded all expectations, entered the semi-finals first time since 1966, restored some of their battered international pride and can return home with heads held high.