England fans were left devastated tonight and their dreams in tatters after Croatia bested them in extra-time of the semi-final in Moscow.
Millions were watching and willing the team on, with the ever present chant of ‘it’s coming home’ heard in every part of the country.
It was not to be for the young side but Prince William has led tributes to the team, who will now be going home, rather than playing France in the final on Sunday.
Fans all across the land are in tears after England were knocked out the World Cup by Croatia
He tweeted: ‘I know how disappointed @england must feel right now but I couldn’t be more proud of this team and you should hold your heads high.
‘You’ve had an incredible #World Cup, made history and gave us fans something to believe in.
‘We know there is more to come from this @england team. W’
Prime Minister Theresa May also tweeted out her support to the players, she said: ‘Wasn’t to be this time but it’s been a great journey that’s made the country proud.
‘We’ll be flying the flag on Saturday.’
Following up her tweet with an emoji of the England flag, #ThreeLions and #CROENG
While few predicted Southgate’s side getting anywhere near Sir Alf Ramsey’s champions at the start of the summer, this bold, young side had looked capable of doing the unthinkable in Russia.
England’s hopes grew as their third World Cup semi-final started with a fifth-minute stunner as Trippier curled home a free-kick that his idol David Beckham would have been proud of.
But the Three Lions were unable to press home their advantage and Perisic snuck ahead of Kyle Walker to draw Croatia level midway through the second half, taking the match to extra-time.
Heartbroken: England manager Gareth Southgate consoles Ashley Young after the difficult 2-1 loss to Croatia
Mandzukic struck the killer blow after John Stones’ effort was cleared off the line, with England players collapsing on the floor as the final whistle ended their hopes of glory.
Southgate, unsurprisingly, kept his composure despite suffering more semi-final heartache, having missed the crucial penalty in the Euro 96 shootout defeat to Germany.
It is a galling evening for his team but the future looks bright, even if it is hard after a gut punch that leaves them facing Belgium in Saturday’s third-placed play-off.
Author: Nancy Parker
Nancy Parker is a five time Emmy Award winning journalist and seven time Emmy nominee who has spent almost twenty five years covering news in South Louisiana. She has anchored every prime time newscast at WVUE FOX8 during her twenty year tenure in New Orleans.