England manager Gareth Southgate has admitted that he will feel the torment of seeing his side come within 20 minutes of a World Cup final for a long time, but vowed to try to put the experience in context.
Quoted by the Mirror, Southgate spoke in detail over the intense emotion of the night, revealing that he was up until 4am rewatching the tie in Moscow which broke English hearts. Despite helping the national side to reach a semi-final not many thought possible, it is clear the night will haunt Southgate as a missed opportunity that might not come around again.
Southgate said: "I’m old enough now that I don’t have to beat myself up unnecessarily. When I was a player I had a very simplistic mindset.
“Win, I was good, lose and I was an idiot and nothing in between. I’m a lot more rational now. I can see what we have achieved, albeit when you are so close you look back at what we might have done.
“The reality is that we lost a semi-final but you’ve got to balance that with where do I think this team is, realistically, and what level do I think they are at.
“I think we’ve really got a huge amount out of this group of players and they deserve massive credit. If I look at Pickford, Maguire, Trippier they had a handful of caps each coming into the tournament and they have all performed unbelievably well.
“As so have many others who don’t have huge experience so I am hugely proud of what they have done.”
England have spent the days since the defeat to Croatia preparing for today's third place play-off game with Belgium, who they came up against earlier in the tournament. Despite being seen as a forgettable affair, it is a chance for a few of England's bench players to get minutes before the squad depart Russia.