They dared to dream, but England’s World Cup dreams were ended on Wednesday night as Croatia came from behind to win 2-1 and book a spot in Sunday’s final.
England, playing in the semi-final for the first time since 1990, had looked on course thanks to Kieran Trippier’s fifth-minute free kick and a strong opening half.
But Croatia fought back after the break, levelling through Ivan Perisic in the 68th minute before snatching the win in extra time through Mario Mandzukic on 109 minutes.
It was a harsh lesson for Gareth Southgate’s young team, but their unexpected run to the last four left most England fans feeling proud of the team for the first time in many years.
A feeling that was reflected in the online reaction.
Thankyou #england for getting me so swept up in football. I’ve never experienced this before and I loved it. Everyone was behind you and it put a smile on my face. You have done us proud. It united all of us
— Scott Mills (@scott_mills) July 11, 2018
England fans right now. 👏👏 pic.twitter.com/jjtmMz0maF
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) July 11, 2018
Sure, England may have lost the match, but let's not forget the incredible victory they achieved today in making me acticely choose to watch two and a half hours of men's football.
— Charlie McDonnell (@coollike) July 11, 2018
Congratulations to Croatia. Devastating loss for @England but thank you all for a glorious summer. This is just the beginning…
— Grant Williams (@ttmygh) July 11, 2018
— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) July 11, 2018
I only see credit in what England have achieved at this tournament. They advanced on their limitations and brushed them aside
— Oliver Holt (@OllieHolt22) July 11, 2018
England offered everything. They were on their last legs. Was a great chance but they should come home to applause like 1990. Good effort 🏴
— Lee Ryder (@lee_ryder) July 11, 2018
Football did come home. Watching England was fun again as the sun shone here on a magical, memorable summer
— Sam Pilger (@sampilger) July 11, 2018
Oh, England, you great, unfinished symphony. We are so proud of you. Qatar 2022, it’s coming home. 🏴
— Matthew Lewis (@Mattdavelewis) July 11, 2018