In the latest England news, manager Gareth Southgate claims his players have “come of age” despite their 2-1 extra-time defeat at the hands of Croatia on Wednesday night.
The Three Lions looked like they could be on their way to the World Cup final to meet France, after Kieran Trippier scored a sublime free-kick to give them an early lead in Moscow.
However, Croatia struck back in the second half through Ivan Perisic before Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic scored what proved to be the winning goal in extra-time to take his side through to Sunday’s showpiece event.
Not many predicted England would reach the semi-final of the World Cup and Southgate’s side have won many admirers from what they have achieved in the tournament.
The England boss has spoken of his pride at his side’s progress in Russia and believes their experiences will stand them in good stead going into major tournaments in the future.
“There’ll be a new benchmark and level of expectation,” said Southgate.
“To become a winning team there are hurdles you have to overcame – and we’ve surpassed many of them.”
He added: “Many of our players have come of age on the international stage.”
The Three Lions won’t be heading home just yet, as they get set to play Belgium for the second time in the competition in the third-place play-off on Saturday.
England suffered a 1-0 defeat against the Belgians in the group stages of the competition but Southgate had fielded a much-changed side for that encounter, in which a goal from former Manchester United starlet Adnan Januzaj was the difference.