Football World Cup: Media reacts to England's loss to Croatia

England's dream Football World Cup run was brought to a halt, when they lost to Croatia 2-1 in their semi-final.

Although there was sadness as the 'Three Lions' missed out on a chance to qualify for their first final since 1966, many fans were proud of how far their young team went.

Below are excerpts from some of the immediate reaction across UK media to the side's loss.

Phil McNutty - BBC Sport

"England's expectation had reached fever pitch and they will regret their failure to take advantage of that spell when they were in control.

"There was nothing that could offer solace to Gareth Southgate and England's players, as they stood saluting their supporters at the end - but the reaction from the travelling fans was an indicator of what they achieved in Russia.

"England's fans rose as one to give them a standing ovation in a show of appreciation for their best run at a major competition since Euro 96 - and a far cry from the humiliation of failing to get out of the group stage in Brazil four years ago and the Euro 2016 elimination by minnows Iceland in the last 16.

Daniel Taylor - The Guardian

"It was like watching a beautiful painting being ripped up in front of your eyes.

“England’s dream of making it to their first World Cup final for more than a quarter of a century was over and in those desolate moments after the final whistle, as the losing players wandered aimlessly around the pitch, almost zombie-like in their trance, it was impossible not to wonder whether there will be a lifetime of regret.

"Those players will look back eventually on a tournament that has helped to shift England’s reputation for leaden football and tournament neurosis. All the same, it might some take time to get over the ordeal of surrendering an early lead to see everything unravel in the second half and, finally, extra time. England had fallen short and, at this stage of the competition, the disappointment will be tremendous when the World Cup had opened up with so many possibilities."

Sam Wallace - Telegraph

"The glorious, beer-soaked Russian summer that changed English football and the England team forever is at an end, and the old story of 1966 will remain, for four more years at least, the greatest ever told, although it took one hell of a World Cup semi-final to keep it that way.

"There was another brave performance from Gareth Southgate’s young team that suggested that they can live among the elite, until eventually this time they succumbed to that miraculous sporting nation of just 4.1 million souls, Croatia, who will play France in the World Cup final.

"This was a night when the opportunity slipped through the fingers of Southgate’s side, out manoeuvred and eventually picked off by a side who had the tournament ringcraft England lacked.

The World Cup might never open up again this way for this generation of English footballers, or perhaps it is just too early to draw those conclusions after a month in which we have seen the scope of what is possible change in front of our eyes.

Henry Winter - The Times UK

"England are out of the World Cup, barring the trifle of a third-place play-off against Belgium, but they are not out of the nation’s hearts. Kieran Trippier, John Stones and the band of brothers will not return home with winners’ medals around their necks, but they will come back with their heads held high.

"They gave everything last night against a hard-nosed, classy Croatia side, just as they had the whole tournament when the country fell back in love with the national team again.

"No matter how painful, no matter how blurring the tears, everyone can see how different this tournament departure feels from the previous ones."

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