Published: Thu, July 12, 2018
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

Gareth Southgate defends Harry Kane from semi-final criticism

Gareth Southgate defends Harry Kane from semi-final criticism

Southgate and his players will rightly receive huge praise as they have done so much to restore England's reputation and reconnect the public to their football team.

Under the clear blue skies of a lovely summer's evening, beer rained down as fans celebrated an early England goal in their first semi-final appearance in 28 years - a prospect which had seemed virtually impossible at the tournament's outset.

The Tottenham forward began the tournament brilliantly with five goals in two games but his form tailed off in the knockout stages, and he was particularly anonymous against Croatia in the 2-1 defeat in extra-time.

"Tonight was a wonderful opportunity for us and you can't guarantee that those opportunities will come again", he added.

Southgate can reflect on two years in which he has taken England from the embarrassment of Euro 2016 to their first World Cup semi-final in 28 years. You can't tell me their name isn't already on the trophy after this, and the incredible inflatable unicorns swimming race we saw the day after the last-gasp win over Tunisia to kick off this fairytale run.

William said: "Come on England - it's coming home!"

"We worked as hard as we could.it hurts, it hurts a lot and it will hurt for a long time". And the draw may never be as kind.

"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.

The Sun reacted to the loss with "You did us proud". "He scored a hat-trick, and it was the best hat-trick I have ever seen from any player, at any level".

England won their opening game at a major tournament for the first time since the 2006 World Cup. "Bring it home skip". Southgate has done well to mask his team's flaws and give them a renewed sense of confidence and identity, but the problems that cost them against Croatia were the same that nearly handed victory to Colombia in the round of 16.

The British Beer and Pub Association forecast that the number of pints bought would soar by 10 million during the game, many probably destined to be thrown in the air by delirious fans as in previous games - if England score.

The Daily Mail summed up the feeling of the nation with a simple headline "It's all over".

Elspeth Patient, 34, who is originally from Milton Keynes but now lives in Los Angeles, said: "It's been wonderful, it's been such an incredible time for England".

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