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Gary Neville says England can be proud after World Cup semi-final loss

Football
Harry Kane in England action
Harry Kane in England action

Gary Neville believes Gareth Southgate's England squad can be proud of their achievements after they narrowly missed out on the World Cup final.

Kieran Trippier fired England ahead after just five minutes with a superb free-kick but goals from Ivan Perisic and Mario Mandzukic earned Croatia a date with France after a 2-1 extra-time win in Moscow.

Neville said on ITV1: "The first thing to say is this team has taken us to a place we never imagined we could get.

"I said before the tournament England never overachieve, this team has overachieved getting to the semi-final and they can all be absolutely proud.

"They have taken the nation with them. You see all the fans out in the park to see them. I never thought I'd see scenes like that (in) this World Cup.

"They can be absolutely proud. We did say before the game these lads have to take this opportunity because it may never come again.

"All I hope as I look at them now crying, disappointed, upset is they get another opportunity as good as the one they've just had."

Neville felt the way the team unified a nation is something they can look back on with delight.

"They're the youngest team in the tournament," added Neville. "I hope they're in that position again, 1-0 up with 20 minutes to go with the opportunity of getting into a World Cup final.

"You look at (Ruben) Loftus-Cheek, you look at Trippier, they give absolutely everything.

"Three or four weeks ago people were talking about this England team, there wasn't even a connection to this England team.

"People looked on it in some sort of despair. Now you look at what's happened after three-and-a-half weeks everyone's absolutely loved it.

"And they can be proud of that because it's difficult to do that. There's no doubt there's been progression from a few years ago against Iceland.

"This team can now cope with better moments and better pressure. Gareth's been fantastic and he'll be thinking we've got to get here again."

Former England striker Ian Wright echoed the sentiments of Neville.

Wright said: "I'm very proud of what the team has done up to this point. Yes we've come up against easily the best team we've played in the tournament.

"We've come up short against them. We just weren't good enough on the day. That's what it came down to. What Gareth's done to bring this team to where they are now is magnificent. We're proud and that's the main thing."

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Most Read Football

Our best bets for the latest round of Europa League games1

Europa League betting preview

The Europa League kicks off on Thursday with Chelsea and Arsenal fancied for success. Tom Carnduff picks out his best bets.

The latest from the back pages2

Thursday's Paper Talk

Wolves defender Conor Coady could be in line for an England call-up after impressing for the Premier League new boys...

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Man City lose, Man United cruise

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We're backing a Bundesliga side for success in the Europa League this season4

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The Europa League kicks off on Thursday with Chelsea and Arsenal fancied for success. Tom Carnduff picks out his best bets.

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