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It turns out football didn’t actually come home. Sigh.

England agonisingly crashed out at the semi-final stage at the hands of Croatia and broke the hearts of Three Lions fans everywhere.

Gareth Southgate’s young squad did however help to restore some much needed pride in the national squad by reaching the semi-finals against all the odds.


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Getty – Contributor

Heads up, lads

Despite the journey being a memorable one, we guarantee that there are a few things, either for better or worse, that you’re already trying to erase from your memory.

As almost a month has passed since *that* night against Croatia, we think that the wound has suitably healed enough to relive some of classic England moments from the summer.

We still had some good times

Reuters

We still had some good times

Let’s relive the journey and take a look back at the things you might have forgotten… 

1 The oldest player to score at the tournament netted against England

Amongst all the scenes as England were 6-0 up against Panama, the Three Lions were caught short following a lapse in concentration.

In the 78th minute, England allowed Felipe Baloy to sneak in and score a consolation for Panama.

Not even Jordan Pickford could stop this one

EPA

Not even Jordan Pickford could stop this one

That goal was a historic one for many reasons.

Not only was it Panama’s first goal in World Cup history, but Baloy also became the oldest scorer at the 2018 tournament.

At 37 years and 120 days old, the veteran defender had a moment that he will never forget.

The Panama fans were great on the day so I like to think that England just gave them one for free.

You wouldn’t believe that they were 6-1 down

AFP or licensors

You wouldn’t believe that they were 6-1 down

2 The players trained with inflatable unicorns

Not much to add here, really.

Moving on!

3 We pretty much exclusively scored from set-pieces

After the shambles of Harry Kane taking free-kicks and corners at Euro 2016, it was a welcome relief to see England actually make use of set-pieces.

Southgate’s men became known for their immense threat from dead-ball situations, with nine of the 12 goals scored by England at the tournament coming from set-pieces.

Some variation on the human centipede proved useful for England

Getty – Contributor

Some variation on the human centipede proved useful for England

The heads of John Stones and Harry Maguire became magnets for the ball, with the latter in particular impressing in the air.

Only Jesse Lingard’s long-range strike against Panama and Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s deflected effort against Kane, were scored from open-play.

No team since 1966 scored more World Cup goals from set-pieces in a single tournament than England.

Can’t tell if Kieran Trippier or David Beckham

Alamy Live News

Can’t tell if Kieran Trippier or David Beckham

They all count though, right?

4 England and Croatia are actually massive rivals

In some strange four-year period, England had some never-ending ‘beef’ with Croatia.

The pair were the biggest rivals and Slaven Bilic’s squad of relatively average players just seemed to always rattle England.

You can’t see the can of Stella in his other hand

You can’t see the can of Stella in his other hand

England first suffered humiliation at the hands of Croatia in Zagreb during the qualifying campaign for Euro 2008.

Paul Robinson (yes, remember him), flapped as Steve McClaren’s men were beaten 2-0.

By the time England faced Croatia again in their final qualifying match a year later, Steve’s (Dutch accent) men were in real trouble.

I swear he was our only goalkeeper for years

I swear he was our only goalkeeper for years

Disaster struck as Scott Carson and co suffered a humiliating 3-2 defeat at Wembley.

The moment sparked the famous ‘wally with the brolly’ moment for McClaren. Sigh.

Painful to look at

Getty Images – Getty

Painful to look at

We finally got our revenge in the 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign, when Fabio Capello orchestrated a 4-1 win over our notorious foes.

England have however now lost three competitive games against Croatia since the turn of the Millennium, more than against any other nation.

Why didn’t we see this coming?

Ooo, you’re hard. Showing off because of the…

Getty Images – Getty

Ooo, you’re hard. Showing off because of the…

5 Stones and Maguire were too busy taunting Colombia to celebrate the shootout win

In arguably my favourite moment from the entire tournament, Maguire and Stones became bloody legends.

Following the historic shootout win over Colombia, while the rest of the players couldn’t wait to celebrate together, the centre-back pair had their eyes on something else.

“AVE IT!!!”

“AVE IT!!!”

Stones and Maguire had been in a war all night long and were clearly sick of the antics from their opponents.

The pair decided to openly celebrate in the faces of the Colombian players. So good.

I’ve got so much respect for this

Getty Images – Getty

I’ve got so much respect for this

Legendary stuff. I think we should have just been given the World Cup because of this.

That’s the real quiz.

6 Sam Allardyce watched the Panama game in a pub while eating a Big Mac

My new oxygen

My new oxygen

Is that a Sports Direct bag I spot in the background? Presumably that’s where he stores the leftover gherkins before enjoying a feast later in the day.

Although the World Cup dream ended in sadness, it reignited the country’s optimism in the national team.

It’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all, or something like that?


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If you enjoyed that little trip down memory lane, The Sun have released a book all about the journey of England’s young lions in Russia.

‘England’s Heroes’ documents everything there is know about the Three Lions’ route to finishing fourth at the World Cup and is available to purchase here.

You can score yourselves a massive discount on the book by picking up a £10 voucher to spend at WHSmiths that will be in the Sun newspaper on Saturday.


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