“It hurts now but I know when we look back there are a lot of positives, experience we can take, in two years’ time in the Euros to go again and win big tournaments,” says England captain and Tottenham Hotspur striker, Harry Kane in reaction to the Three Lions narrow miss of the Russia 2018 World Cup Final.
England, playing in their first World Cup semi-final in 28 years, blew a golden opportunity to reach their first final since 1966, surrendering a 1-0 half-time lead to lose 2-1 to Croatia after extra-time in Moscow on Wednesday.
Harry Kane says England restored pride during their run to the World Cup semi-finals and can use the tournament as a springboard for sustained success for a talented young generation and he believes even brighter days lie ahead for the third-youngest squad on show in Russia.
The tournament’s top goalscorer with six goals, Kane himself missed a huge chance to give England breathing space in the first half.
“We’ve shown we can do well in these tournaments and the aim is now not to wait for another 20-odd year to get to another big semi-final. It’s to go again and try to achieve our dreams.”
In their run to the last four, England re-engaged with a fanbase disaffected by decades of failure at international tournaments, most notably in a humiliating exit to Iceland at Euro 2016.
World Cup fever swept the nation back home and even after the defeat, thousands of England fans at the Luzhniki stadium stayed behind long after the final whistle to give their side a rousing send-off.
“It’s massive that we had a good tournament and restored pride in the nation. The fans are excited to watch us play and that’s how we have to keep progressing,” added Kane.
“We should be proud and hold our heads up high because we’ve come a long way from two years ago. Even out there the fans singing after a defeat, it’s a proud feeling.”