Sport It all ends in tears: Touching moment Gareth Southgate was hugged by his wife in empty World Cup stadium after England's agonising semi-final defeat to Croatia left the nation heartbroken

01:36  13 july  2018
01:36  13 july  2018 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

World Cup: England tipped by Australians to win tournament ahead of Belgium, France and Croatia

  World Cup: England tipped by Australians to win tournament ahead of Belgium, France and Croatia Maybe it was the memes, or Gareth Southgate's canny management, or maybe some people just want to watch the world burn, but it looks like Australians are barracking for England to win the World Cup. Having reached the semi-finals stage of the showpiece event in Russia, ABC asked its readers who they hoped would win the World Cup — and by some distance, they've opted for the Three Lions to end 52 years of hurt.England comes in with 40.3 per cent of the vote — the majority among the four teams — ahead of Belgium's 28.67 per cent, Croatia at 19.32 per cent and France's 11.71 per cent.

It all ends in tears : Touching moment Gareth Southgate was hugged by his wife in empty World Cup stadium after England ' s agonising semi - final defeat to Croatia left the nation heartbroken .

It all ends in tears : Touching moment Gareth Southgate was hugged by his wife in empty World Cup stadium after England ' s agonising semi - final defeat to Croatia left the nation heartbroken .

England manager Gareth Southgate made his way up into the empty stands for a poignant and touching embrace with his wife Alison after his team's agonising semi-final defeat to Croatia.

The touching moment comes as Southgate and his players are being called national heroes by supporters who thanked them for restoring the nation's pride in its football team during the 'best three weeks of our lives'.

Tearful stars including Jordan Pickford, Marcus Rashford, Kieran Trippier, Harry Maguire and Kyle Walker were comforted by their partners, parents and children after their extraordinary and unexpected World Cup adventure in Russia came to an end.

Football 'most definitely' coming home, Prince Harry predicts

  Football 'most definitely' coming home, Prince Harry predicts Britain's Prince Harry confidently predicted that England would lift the World Cup as Gareth Southgate's men prepare for their semi-final against Croatia later on Wednesday. Asked if football is coming home during a visit to the Irish President's residence in Dublin - a reference to England's 1996 soccer anthem "Three Lions" - Harry replied "most definitely."Harry and his American wife Meghan began a two-day visit to Dublin on Tuesday, their first trip abroad since their wedding in May.

It all ends in tears : Touching moment Gareth Southgate was hugged by his wife in empty World Cup stadium after England ' s agonising semi - final defeat to Croatia left the nation heartbroken . ‘He single-handedly ruined the entire tournament’

It all ends in tears : Touching moment Gareth Southgate was hugged by his wife in empty World Cup stadium after England ' s agonising semi - final defeat to Croatia left the nation heartbroken . Let's Get Teddy to Rumble! Police are called as

On the pitch their visibly emotional manager hugged every player, most of them in tears, as the 10,000-plus English fans in the stadium cheered them and sang 'Three Lions' and Oasis's 'Don't Look Back in Anger'.

This morning, many of the stars took to social media to explain that they were 'heartbroken' and left feeling 'gutted' after the side's exit, while others praised Southgate for restoring pride in the national team.

Defender Kyle Walker called for England to 'keep the unity alive, I love you', as his teammate Marcus Rashford tweeted a photograph of himself with his manager with the caption 'you’ve brought belief and the love of football back. Thank you boss from the whole nation'.

Last night's defeat - watched by 26.5million people on ITV, making it the most watched event in Britain since the London Olympics in 2012 - left many supporters sobbing as England lost in extra time.

There is more to Croatia than just Modric magic

  There is more to Croatia than just Modric magic <p>Croatia's run to the World Cup final is largely down to Luka Modric's tireless work in midfield but their ability to switch tactics efficiently should be a warning for opponents France on Sunday.</p>Croatia's run to the World Cup final is largely down to Luka Modric's tireless work in midfield but their ability to switch tactics efficiently should be a warning for opponents France on Sunday.

It all ends in tears : Touching moment Gareth Southgate was hugged by his wife in empty World Cup stadium after England ' s agonising semi - final defeat to Croatia left the nation heartbroken . ‘He single-handedly ruined the entire tournament’

It all ends in tears : Touching moment Gareth Southgate was hugged by his wife in empty World Cup stadium after England ' s agonising semi - final defeat to Croatia left the nation heartbroken . The Donald arrives for four-day red carpet visit

Some even suggested that England's heroes should be given a parade to honour their unexpected run in the tournament, a notion quickly shot down by the FA which said it had no plans to hold an official presentation.

Southgate turns on the charm again ahead of World Cup semi-final

  Southgate turns on the charm again ahead of World Cup semi-final Gareth Southgate has expressed pride in the unifying power of England's World Cup adventureGareth Southgate has expressed pride in the unifying power of England's World Cup adventure, which has reconciled him with terrace favourite 'Three Lions' after 20 years of hurt and brought respite from political divisions back home.

It all ends in tears : Touching moment Gareth Southgate was hugged by his wife in empty World Cup stadium after England ' s agonising semi - final defeat to Croatia left the nation heartbroken .

It all ends in tears : Touching moment Gareth Southgate was hugged by his wife in empty World Cup stadium after England ' s agonising semi - final defeat to Croatia left the nation heartbroken .

Hopes were high after Trippier's stunning free kick sent the nation crazy in a first half where the team missed at least two more excellent opportunities to kill off the game.

But Croatia, led by star player Luca Modric, fought their way back and made England pay for their scorned chances, scoring once with 20 minutes to go and again in extra time to break English hearts.

Back home thousands of bereft fans struggled to come to terms with yet another defeat in the final stages of a major tournament.

Today many fans woke up with a mix of deep sadness and pride, with England now focused on regrouping ahead of the third place playoff with Belgium on Saturday.

Theresa May, who was unable to watch the game due to the NATO summit, heaped praise on Southgate and insisted everyone should be proud of what England achieved.

A spokeswoman for the Prime Minister said: 'She thinks that he led the team fantastically and that the whole country should be proud of how far England got.'

Meanwhile, Chris Pit tweeted: 'Woke up still gutted but thank you Mr Southgate for bringing belief, pride & passion back to the England team', Sam Phillips wrote: 'Absolutely gutted! What a journey! You gave us all hope...one day it will come home'.

Croatian players' kids delight World Cup fans with post-win scratch match

  Croatian players' kids delight World Cup fans with post-win scratch match It was the beginning of an under-sevens side that kept the crowd going long after Croatia qualified for their first ever World Cup final.In what is starting to look like the beginning of a tradition, the children of Croatian players found their way onto Luzhniki Stadium amid the celebration of Hrvatska's 2-1 extra time win over England.

It all ends in tears : Touching moment Gareth Southgate was hugged by his wife in empty World Cup stadium after England ' s agonising semi - final defeat to Croatia left the nation heartbroken .

It all ends in tears : Touching moment Gareth Southgate was hugged by his wife in empty World Cup stadium after England ' s agonising semi - final defeat to Croatia left the nation heartbroken .

Alan Kemp said: 'Woke up today with a bit of a sore head and sore heart but a quick cuddle with my England flag just reminded me what we achieved and how proud I am of this team'.

Rob Jones wrote: 'So it’s not coming home then...except, it still is. Football doesn’t mean a trophy or being the best. It’s about the spirit of the game, playing the game right, making your fans proud. England did that. So, it’s coming home'.

Tom Neary said: 'Still gutted, although the trophy isn’t coming home it feels like football is. True pride in the national team, can’t wait to see them in the Euros in 2 years time'.

The England squad's wives and girlfriends draped their arms round the players following the 2-1 defeat at the Moscow stadium.

English legend brands team chokers following cup exit

  English legend brands team chokers following cup exit England have been labelled chokers by one of their all-time goalscoring legends after their heartbreaking semi final loss to Croatia at the FIFA World Cup. The Three Lions took the lead early through a stunning free kick by Kieran Trippier but conceded the game-winning goal with just five minutes remaining in extra time to lose 2-1.After the loss, Lineker took to his personal Twitter account to air out his frustrations, saying the side "utterly choked".https://twitter.

THIS is the poignant moment Gareth Southgate was consoled by his wife after England ' s heartbreaking World Cup exit. The pair were pictured locked in an embrace in an empty Luzhniki Stadium after proud Three Lions supporters filtered out of the ground.

It all ends in tears : Touching moment Gareth Southgate was hugged by his wife in empty World Cup stadium after England ' s agonising semi - final defeat to Croatia left the nation heartbroken .

Players fell to their knees in tears at the final whistle while millions of people watching at home were also left weeping after coming so close to getting to the final.

Megan Davison was seen sitting next to tearful goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, as his loved ones consoled him while Harry Maguire was comforted by Fern Hawkins and goal-scorer Keiran Trippier sat with his family in the stands.

Kyle Walker was comforted by his young daughter while Dele Alli embraced and kissed his girlfriend Ruby Mae.

The team didn’t get back to St Petersburg until 8am today. Footage was seen of the coach arriving at the team hotel with some players asleep with hoodies up. They are expected to sleep in this morning and have massages and pool exercises later on. Trippier likely to fly home tonight for treatment.

Back home, a staggering 30,000 people descended on Hyde Park in London where the Lightning Seeds treated the crowd to a rendition of Three Lions.

Stars including One Direction's Louis Tomlinson and London Mayor Sadiq Khan was also among the crowd.

Extraordinary footage showed the crowd go berserk after England scored with pints of flying everywhere, but by the final whistle it had all ended in tears.

Millions more watched the game in pubs and other fan festivals up and down the country.

At Millennium Square in Leeds thousands of fans, many wearing replica T-shirts, enjoyed the match.

Many linked arms to sing the national anthem, with the venue filling up completely 45 minutes before kick-off.

In Bristol thousands of football supporters gathered at the city’s fan zone to watch the match. And more than 8,000 fans were at Castlefield Bowl in Manchester.

Reputations burnished, others buffeted at 'best World Cup ever'

  Reputations burnished, others buffeted at 'best World Cup ever' <p>A stage for new beginnings, a cementer of fortunes, <g class="gr_ gr_3 gr-alert gr_gramm gr_inline_cards gr_run_anim Grammar multiReplace" data-gr-id="3" id="3">a last</g> resting place for life-long dreams, the 2018 soccer World Cup was so much more than a month-long festival of goals and glory.</p>"The best World Cup ever," was FIFA President Gianni Infantino's verdict, and there was much evidence to support his view.

It all ends in tears : Touching moment Gareth Southgate was hugged by his wife in empty World Cup stadium after England ' s agonising semi - final defeat to Croatia left the nation heartbroken . ‘He single-handedly ruined the entire tournament’

It all ends in tears : Touching moment Gareth Southgate was hugged by his wife in empty World Cup stadium after England ' s agonising semi - final defeat to Croatia left the nation heartbroken . The Donald arrives for four-day red carpet visit

After the defeat, Prince William offered his support to the England team. He tweeted: ‘I know how disappointed you must feel right now but I couldn’t be more proud of this team and you should hold your heads high.

‘You’ve had an incredible World Cup, made history, and gave us fans something to believe in. We know there is more to come from this team. W.’

Theresa May said: ‘Wasn’t to be this time but it’s been a great journey that’s made the country proud. We’ll be flying the flag on Saturday. Three Lions.’

Sir Geoff Hurst, a World Cup winner with England in 1966, said at the launch of Deliveroo's edible pitch, said: 'Even though Harry isn’t lifting the trophy on Sunday, we should be proud of our boys. The young team have emerged as heroes, especially Pickford, he has surpassed my expectations.'

Speaking to ITV after the match, captain Harry Kane said: ‘It is tough. We are gutted. We worked so hard. The fans were amazing. It was a tough game.

‘It hurts a lot and we are going to hurt for a while, but we can hold our heads up high. It has been a fantastic journey and we got further than anyone thought we could have. We thought we were good enough to go on and win it. The next step now is to go one further. We have to dust ourselves down and be proud of what we achieved. Then we go again.’

Fans who made the journey to Russia spoke of their disappointment but praised the team for exceeding expectations. Salesman Peter Wood, 63, from Bristol, said: ‘I’m proud of this team and believe they’ll be back even stronger next time.

‘We were given no chance at the start of the tournament yet somehow got to within touching distance of the final. That’s a huge achievement.’

Bed shop owner Colin Whiting, 48, also from Bristol, said: ‘It’s been a privilege to see this team come so far and make us all so proud. But they’ve fallen after bringing us so close to a World Cup final after more than 50 years.’

Belgium finishes 3rd at World Cup, beats England 2-0

  Belgium finishes 3rd at World Cup, beats England 2-0 Belgium earned its highest World Cup finish by beating England 2-0 in the third-place match. Thomas Meunier and Eden Hazard scored a goal each for the Belgians.

It all ends in tears : Touching moment Gareth Southgate was hugged by his wife in empty World Cup stadium after England ' s agonising semi - final defeat to Croatia left the nation heartbroken . ‘He single-handedly ruined the entire tournament’

Insurance broker Tom Reynolds, 30, from London, was stoic: ‘No one gave us a chance in hell at the start of this – and it was all about managing expectations.

‘But it’s been an absolute privilege to support these lads.’

Coffee shop boss Conor Ravenscroft, 25, from Bristol, said: ‘They’ll be back stronger next time.’

Former England striker Gary Lineker said: ‘Utterly choked, but this young side gave absolutely everything. It’s a huge step forward and they’ll only get better.

‘They can hold their heads high, they did our country proud. Congratulations to Croatia.’

Pictures: The best action and emotion from the 2018 FIFA World Cup

Belgium finishes 3rd at World Cup, beats England 2-0 .
Belgium earned its highest World Cup finish by beating England 2-0 in the third-place match. Thomas Meunier and Eden Hazard scored a goal each for the Belgians.

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