It was like watching a beautiful painting being ripped up in front of your eyes. England’s dream of making it to their first World Cup final for more than a quarter of a century was over and in those desolate moments after the final whistle, as the losing players wandered aimlessly around the pitch, almost zombie-like in their trance, it was impossible not to wonder whether there will be a lifetime of regret.
Those players will look back eventually on a tournament that has helped to shift England’s reputation for leaden football and tournament neurosis. All the same, it might some take time to get over the ordeal of surrendering an early lead to see everything unravel in the second half and, finally, extra time. England had fallen short and, at this stage of the competition, the disappointment will be tremendous when the World Cup had opened up with so many possibilities.
England’s World Cup dream dashed as Croatia win semi-final in extra-time