Skipper Kane believes England have reconnected with the nation after World Cup heroics

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Kane believes his England side can hold their heads high.

England captain Harry Kane believes his side has “reconnected” with the nation after reaching the World Cup semi-finals.

Defeat on Wednesday night to Croatia means football will not be coming home, but Kane says Gareth Southgate’s men can be proud of their performance at Russia 2018.

The 24-year-old Tottenham striker says this England side has overcome challenges which “haunted” past sides, after progressing further in the global tournament than any England side since Italia 90.

Kane wrote on Twitter to his 2.29million followers: “A lot of emotions today. First of all I’m so proud of this team and staff for giving everything we could over a long period of time together.

“We have overcome so many challenges that have haunted England in the past.

“We have reconnected with our amazing supporters and have enjoyed this incredible experience together.

“It wasn’t the outcome we wanted and as painful as it is right now, I’m sure we will learn an awful lot from last night’s game.”

England supporters at home and in Russia got behind Southgate’s men, reviving the Euro 96 anthem ‘Three Lions (Football’s Coming Home)’.

And Kane is relishing the future in a youthful team.

He added: “It’s time now to hold our heads high as a nation and be proud of each other.

“I’m excited to be part of this team and the challenge to improve going forward. Thank you all for your support!”

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Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren has last laugh over England captain Harry Kane

Alex Broun 12/07/2018
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Dejan Lovren got his revenge on Harry Kane

After two glaring errors by Liverpool star Dejan Lovren gifted Tottenham a 2-2 draw at Anfield in a crucial Premier League clash back in February, Reds fans around the world were calling for his head.

But now after a stand-out performance that saw Croatia come back from 1-0 down to defeat England in the World Cup semi-final in Moscow, the 29-year-old centre half has plenty of reason to smile.

Even better for the much-maligned Croat, his chief tormentor that night back in February – Harry Kane – was kept relatively quiet and off the score-sheet.

“This feels incredible, especially after everything that was said about us before the game,” said Lovren after the come-back win.

“We showed our character, we showed that we deserved to be in the final and people should respect us.

“Sometimes it is unfair. Before this game they said we are tired but we showed in extra-time we had fresher legs than them. Simple as that. The difference was mental.”

Dejan Lovren shows his joy after the victory over England

Dejan Lovren shows his joy after the victory over England

Lovren feels that after appearing in the Champions League final with Liverpool, and now the World Cup final, he has earnt respect rather than revilement.

“Sometimes, the criticism is unfair and people should respect me also,” he continued. “Without being arrogant I think I have [been proved to be one of the best defenders in the world]. Definitely.

“If somebody told me that from the beginning of the season that I would be in two of the biggest finals in the world I would have signed straight away.

“I went through a lot of s*** and I would say it is coming back.”

Lovren also revealed that Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp sent him a text him after the match.

The Reds manager told Lovren he was “proud” after seeing the defender help his side to a World Cup final against France.

“He’s [Klopp] proud of me and what I’ve achieved,” said Lovren. “He knows what I went through. He’s a good man. Even in tough times he was always backing me up. I appreciated that.”

Finally Lovren expressed his empathy for team mate Jordan Henderson who won’t be joining him in the final on Sunday.

“I am a little bit disappointed for my team-mate [Jordan Henderson] because he also deserved to be in the final. I wish we could both be in the final for that game but there is only one winner.”

It was different when Lovren and Kane met in the Premier League

It was different when Lovren and Kane met in the Premier League

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Ashley Young not getting carried away as England focus on World Cup semi-final

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Young believes England have won nothing yet.

Birthday boy Ashley Young is hoping to end the holiday of a lifetime with a World Cup winners’ medal.

England have not only talked the talk in Russia but walked the walk, leaving Gareth Southgate‘s men preparing to face Croatia on Wednesday for a place in Sunday’s Luzhniki Stadium finale.

The Three Lions’ journey to their first World Cup semi-final in 28 years has captivated a nation and is born of the group’s unique bond.

Togetherness has been a buzzword throughout the tournament, where remote Repino – a small tourist town 29 miles north-west of St Petersburg – has become the unlikely base for England’s quiet revolution.

“I think not just the players but the staff behind the scenes, making the hotel feel like you are at home – pictures of family in rooms, things to do in the hotel,” said Young, who missed a penalty in the quarter-final shootout defeat to Italy at Euro 2012.

“If you said to any player that we were going to be together for seven weeks, there was a lot of talk of being bored, but it’s not like that at all.

“It’s felt like a good holiday we’ve been on, and we’re enjoying every moment of it. No boredom at all.

“Everyone gets on well and if you’ve got that off the pitch you can take that onto the pitch. Fans, staff, players, everyone can see how well we click together.”

There is a spirit among a squad low in terms of international experience but brimming with confidence and potential.

Young is the oldest member of Southgate’s group and turned 33 on Monday, but the celebrations are on hold – just as they were after the comfortable 2-0 quarter-final win against Sweden.

“We haven’t won anything yet so there’s no point in celebrating,” the attack-minded left-back said.

Young has been a key figure in Southgate's England squad.

Young has been a key figure in Southgate’s England squad.

“It was nice to get the victory but I think the celebrations were muted because there’s still big games to come up.

“There’s still a lot to play for. I’ve said all along that the team spirit we have got here has been fantastic and I think you see that in the way we celebrate after a game.

“We get ourselves back to the hotel, recover, prepare the right way and go for the next game.”

Young believes England have a “great chance” to go on and win the World Cup this week, but there is little chance of Southgate’s men taking semi-final opponents Croatia lightly.

“I think it is one of them things as a kid that you always dream of playing in a World Cup and you dream of winning the World Cup,” the Manchester United man said.

“But we are not going to get too far ahead of ourselves and get carried away.

“The boys’ feet are on the ground and everyone is pulling in the same way.

“We have just got to prepare in the same way as we have for all other games. It’s another game coming up and that is how we have got to see it.

“Croatia are a very good team. They are not in the semi-final for no reason. Obviously, we’ve got to be prepared for them.

“They have the likes of Luka Modric in the team – he’s a fantastic player – but they have other players around the squad that are going to be difficult opponents.

“But we can’t concentrate on them. We’ve got to concentrate on ourselves and that is what we will be doing going into the game.”

Young brushed aside talk of England having more support on Wednesday, but spoke openly about the impact that being taken to extra time and penalties in both knockout games, against Denmark and Russia, could have on Croatia.

“I think, especially physically, it is demanding on the body to go 120 minutes in a game and then obviously you’ve got to fly back as well to base,” he said.

“We felt that and now they have done twice so it could play a major advantage.

“But we know it is going to be a tough game and we’ve got be mentally and physically prepared for what they bring and will throw at us.”

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