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World Cup 2018: Prince William Proud of Three Lions Despite Croatia Heartache

Home truths: England fail to reach the final of the World Cup again and a fan looks dejected after the match watched by 30,000 fans in Hyde Park 

Prince William has led the praise for the England national football team after losing 2—1 in the semi-final of the World Cup to Croatia. The Duke of Cambridge is the chairman of the Football Association and has been rooting for the Three Lions since the tournament started.

He wrote on Twitter: “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.”

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, who gave the green light for an outdoor screening at Hyde Park and watched alongside the 30,000-strong crowd tweeted: “Thank you England. You gave us one hell of a World Cup. London’s proud of you tonight.”

The day started had begun on such a bullish note as the fans were treated by the Lightening Seeds to the official anthem of the Three Lions, It’s Coming Home. Many believe the team can head back home with their heads held high after their heroics.

It’s not Coming Home: Ian Broudie of The Lightning Seeds performs in Hyde Park before the match 

England still have a chance for a consolation prize, the dreaded third-place match against Belgium, who lost 1—0 to France.

“It’s not a game any team wants to play in,” manager Gareth Southgate admitted.

England won the World Cup in 1966 as hosts, while Belgium have never reached a final – and both sides have lost their only previous third place play-off ties.

“We have two days to prepare. We will want to give a performance of huge pride,” said Southgate.

“Every time we wear the shirt we want to play well and win. It’s going to be a really difficult task. We’ve made such strides with our supporters and public that we want to continue to do that.”

England captain Harry Kane told BBC Radio 5 live: “It’s been an amazing run but it hurts to lose, it really hurts. We wanted to go on and win it and we thought we had enough to go through but it wasn’t to be.

Croatia’s Mario Mandzukic scores Croatia’s second goal to end England’s fairytale i

“In big games, small margins make the difference and they had a ball that fell their way at the end and he stuck it away. We played well at the start and in extra time but we missed a few chances to kill them off.

“There are a lot of positives to take from this tournament. It’s a big stepping stone from two years ago.”

Right-back Kieran Trippier, who scored the early goal but went off injured in extra time leaving his side reduced to 10 men, spoke to BBC Radio 5 live after the match.

“Obviously we are feeling disappointed but we have grown as a team through the tournament and handled certain games and a penalty shootout well,” he said.

“You need to take chances in the semi-final of a World Cup and had we got that second goal, things would have been different. They had their spells in the game, which we knew would happen, but we are very proud of ourselves and all of the staff.

“It wasn’t meant to be. Tonight shows how far we have come as a team and a nation. We have connected with the fans and I hope they know how hard we tried to make them proud.”

England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford said: “It’s been a great run. We went ahead early and sometimes you might say it was too early but it just shows our character, we never stopped until the end.

“We hold our heads high and it shows how much we’ve come on as a unit and as a country. Look at the fans at the end, two years ago it wasn’t like that.

“I hope it’s just the start, this tournament, as long as we keep performing and keep playing the way we can. Tonight wasn’t our night but hopefully the future is bright.”

He added: “These are the times you learn from. We would like to get to the final, we would like to win it but as a person and as a team you learn more by not getting through and hopefully we come back stronger.”

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