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Rediff.com  » Sports » PIX: Hopes dashed, England fans taste bitter defeat once again

PIX: Hopes dashed, England fans taste bitter defeat once again

Last updated on: July 12, 2018 09:49 IST

'I hope before I die I see England win the World Cup'

England

IMAGE: England football fans react after their defeat.Photograph: Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

Some England soccer fans sobbed while others looked to the future with confidence after their once improbable dreams of a first World Cup final in more than 50 years were dashed by Croatia on Wednesday.

 

"We blew our chances," 17-year-old Josh Ogunde said after watching the 2-1 semi-final defeat with friends near Trafalgar Square in central London as the disappointed crowds streamed home.

"I just believe we can come back another time, and I hope before I die I see England win the World Cup," Ogunde said.

Matt Reece, 25, who works in marketing, said England had far outperformed the low expectations of them when the tournament began.

England

IMAGE: England football fans react after their defeat as they watch the Hyde Park screening of the FIFA World Cup semi-final match against Croatia. Photograph: Jack Taylor/Getty Images

But he lamented England's failure to take full advantage of what appeared an unusually easy route to the final, avoiding most of the heavyweight teams in Russia.

"They've been unbelievable the whole tournament but at the end of the day, it was our best chance ever and we haven’t taken it," Reece said.

After watching their team stumble at major tournaments for decades, often falling to much smaller nations, England supporters had begun to think that 2018 might be a different story.

If they had beaten Croatia, England would have reached only their second World Cup final. In their other appearance, in 1966, in London, they entered popular folklore by beating West Germany, an achievement that many fans have long thought they would never see again.

England

IMAGE: England football fans look dejected. Photograph: Simon Dawson/Reuters

Despite taking the lead early in the first half on Wednesday, England suffered the familiar story of World Cup heartbreak as Croatia equalised in the second half and then claimed the winner in the second period of extra time.

In Moscow, some England fans emerged from the Luzhniki Stadium in tears and being hugged by others while jubilant Croatian supporters celebrated around them.

"It was a good game. Croatia deserved to win," Mark Burcher, 50, said. Asked how far he thought the still young England team could progress in the next World Cup, he said: "This far, if not the final."

England

IMAGE: England fans react. Photograph: Peter Cziborra/Reuters

"A couple of weeks ago, I would have taken this result,” said one man in a red England shirt who declined to give his name. "It's something to have got this far."

But Raj Singh, a Canadian who supports England because he has relatives in Britain, said the team may have passed up their best opportunity in a lifetime to reach a World Cup final.

"No way will they have such an easy route next time. Look at the other teams they’ll be up against. France are a young team, Brazil are young," he said.

Source:
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