England hailed as heroes after World Cup heartache

Stanley Field is ready

A peak audience of just under 27 million viewers saw England bow out of the 2018 World Cup last night. "I don't think realistically we expected to be here. But they gave us pride - and brought the whole nation together": The Mail uses its front page to focus on the impact England's success at the World Cup has had beyond the world of football.

England captain Kane told ITV Sport: "It's tough".

England manager Gareth Southgate admitted that the World Cup third/fourth place playoff is a game no one wants to play in after his team lost 2-1 to Croatia in the semifinals in Russian Federation.

Sime Vrsaljko has been one of Croatia's best players as they have stormed into the World Cup final in Russian Federation against the odds.

"We had hoped [for this] and we believed in our team, but the feeling when we finally entered the finals can not be compared to anything", said Croatia fan Ivan Kecerin.

In capital Zagreb, more than 10,000 people gathered in the central square to watch the match despite rain.

Loud cheers rang out after each goal, fans waved the red and white national flag, and after the final whistle Croatian TV showed wild celebrations breaking out in towns and cities. The fans were unbelievable, " Kane said.

Scenes after the game were, perhaps unsurprisingly, more subdued than after the quarter-final win against Sweden. You see what's happening. "Everybody has come. It's the best feeling in a long time".

The mutual appreciation between squad and fans was slightly marred by news on Thursday that Federation Internationale de Football Association had opened disciplinary proceedings against the FA following a report of possible discriminatory chanting by England supporters during the Croatia match.

"It was a good game".

I said this in the group stages and I'm thinking, quarter-finals England will get knocked out.

In light of the heartbreak, Prince William took to Twitter to commend the England team, writing: "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".

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