MOSCOW, Russia- England captain Harry Kane could not hide his desperate disappointment after his side’s 2-1 extra-time defeat against Croatia in the semi-finals of the World Cup in Moscow on Wednesday night.
“We’re gutted. It hurts, it hurts a lot,” Kane said after the match at the Luzhniki Stadium.
“It’s going to hurt for a while of course. We can hold our heads up high. It’s been a fantastic journey, we got further than anyone else thought we would have,” he added.
Playing in their first World Cup semi-final since 1990, England took a fifth-minute lead through Kieran Trippier’s superb free-kick.
But Croatia summoned the strength to come back in the second half, equalising through Ivan Perisic before Mario Mandzukic got the winner in the 109th minute.
“It’s been great to get to this stage and we know we’ve done everyone proud but we wanted to go on and win it,” Kane added.
“We thought we were just good enough, we thought we could have done that. But we’ve fallen just a bit short. It hurts. I don’t know what else to say.”
His manager Gareth Southgate noted that his England side “left everything out there” after falling to defeat
“I think in the first half we were really good and maybe we could have got another goal,” Southgate told ITV.
“I can’t ask for more from the players. I think knockout football is about fine margins and when you have good spells against fine sides you need to take your chances.
“Tonight we weren’t quite there but we will learn from that. We left everything out there.”
Croatia will be the smallest nation to play the final match of a World Cup since Uruguay won the 1950 tournament when they face France on Sunday, after recovering through a second-half Ivan Perisic volley and Mario Mandzukic’s winner deep into extra time.
“It’s great for us and for smaller countries it shows that if you dream and have the character and work hard, dreams are possible,” said former Croatia coach Slaven Bilic in his role as an ITV pundit.