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13th Jul 2018

Steven Gerrard makes humbling admission about the current England team

This England team exceeded all expectations

Reuben Pinder

They exceeded all expectations by reaching a semi-final

As Mario Mandžukić took advantage of a lapse in concentration from England’s defence and buried the winning goal for Croatia in extra time, hearts were crushed and dreams were shattered.

But this England side will return home after the third place play-off to a hero’s welcome. They have exceeded all expectations, coming agonisingly close to reaching a World Cup final for the first time since 1966.

The scale of this achievement should be measured against previous, more talented squads who failed miserably. In the noughties, England’s ‘golden generation’ failed to get past a quarter final. One of the stars of that side, Steven Gerrard, has since spoken about what the current side has achieved and made a humbling admission.

“I’m gutted for the players and I’m gutted for Gareth because, as everyone knows, it was an incredible opportunity to go to a World Cup final,” he said.

“Having reflected on it for 24 hours you can be nothing but proud of the players and the coaching staff. They did an awful lot better than I ever did, or we ever did,” he added.

And pride is the overwhelming feeling towards this England team, who managed to unite a nation and reignite its love affair with the national team against all odds.

Gerrard continued: “All I can do is tip my hat and congratulate them. They deserve a hell of a reception when they return and let’s hope it’s the start of something big for them. I was mightily impressed by them.”

“Yes we got a bit of luck with the draw and came up against teams we proved to be better than.

“In the end Croatia were a little bit too good and had a little bit too much in the tank, but we can’t be critical of what they’ve done, they were absolutely superb.”