England’s fairytale came to an end in the semi-finals as Croatia recorded a 2-1 victory in extra-time.
Kieran Trippier’s early free-kick put the Three Lions in the driving seat in Moscow, but Ivan Perisic levelled midway through the second half and Mario Mandzukic’s extra-time strike sent Croatia through to Sunday’s final against France.
But England’s performances in Russia have been met with joy back home with Southgate credited with bringing the love of international football back into the hearts of many back home – a view shared by England forward Rashford.
“You’ve brought belief and the love of football back. Thank you boss from the whole nation.”, the Manchester United forward tweeted alongside a photo of himself embracing his boss.
England players were clearly devastated at the result last night, the Three Lions’ first semi-final appearance in 28 years.
But all of them are remaining positive about what lies ahead for this young team under Southgate’s leadership.
Captain Harry Kane told his two million followers: “It hurts a lot. It will hurt for a while. We can be proud and we’ll be back. Thanks for all your support.”
Midfielder Jesse Lingard said: “Was an honour to represent my country at the world cup. The squad we have is a great bunch of lads who are willing to learn and give everything and we can hold our heads high. Thank you to everyone who supported our journey – we dont stop here!”
England’s youngest player at the tournament, Trent Alexander-Arnold declared his appreciation for being part of the experience.
“Absolutely devastated that our journey is over! We enjoyed every moment as a nation, I’d like to thank all the staff and fans for being behind us,” he tweeted.
“It has been an honour to be a part of this special team. We will be back stronger.”
Centre-back Harry Maguire added: “Devastated. Absolutely gutted. Thanks to the fans for your incredible support.”
Goalkeeper Jack Butland wrote: “Devastated to not be coming back here for the final on Sunday but this is just the beginning for this squad! To each and every @England fan, the support has been incredible and we can’t thank you enough! £ThreeLions”
Forward Jamie Vardy posted: “Gutted….. Thank you to every one of you who have been there each step of the way! The support at each game has been incredible. Sorry we couldn’t cross that final hurdle. Congrats to Croatia and good luck to you in the final £England”
England can now look to build on their World Cup showing with the support of the nation behind them with the 2020 European Championships two years away.