Last night, England’s World Cup dreams were dashed after Croatia defeated them in the semi-final, with the Three Lions’ early lead overturned in the second half.
Naturally, fans at home were distraught to see the team’s inspiring journey come to a close. But there was also an incredible amount of pride and positivity directed to Gareth Southgate’s team, who few had expected to go this far in the tournament, but ended up capturing the nation’s hearts.
And after the match, fans and famous faces (and even Prince William!) all came together to pay tribute to them.
Dear @England, Thank you for bringing us together. Thank you for making us smile. Thank you for caring. Thank you for making us believe. Thank you for giving a new generation a team to be proud of. We look forward to giving you a hero's reception on the weekend. ❤️⚽️#ENGCRO
And for the skills and talent they demonstrated during the campaign:
Honestly no one can criticise this team in any way, done a whole country proud. Some great individuals in Trippier, Henderson and Maguire shone, but the squad as a whole exceeded all expectations, deserved to be in the final but couldn't be prouder. #ENGCRO
To those who will mock us for saying football’s coming home, I say this. We never said the trophy was coming home, we said football. And it did. Look around, we’re proud of the boys, the streets were full of fans. God, some even remade Vindaloo. So yeah, it did come home #ENGCRO
Slap bang down to earth. The world is depressingly normal again. England took millions of us on a ride. They made our days brighter and our lives better. In itself, that is amazing. We experienced a wonderful, collective, positive experience and that is very rare #England
And there were plenty of famous faces – including a future king of England – sharing their admiration for the side…
I know how disappointed @england must feel right now but I couldn’t be more proud of this team and you should hold your heads high. You’ve had an incredible #WorldCup, made history, and gave us fans something to believe in. We know there is more to come from this @england team. W
We may have lost, BUT: Kane – 24 Rashford – 20 Lingard – 25 Sterling – 23 Alli – 22 Stones – 24 Maguire – 25 Walker – 28 Loftus-cheek – 22 Dier – 24 Trippier – 27 Henderson – 28 Rose – 28 This is a young team, this is only the beginning… #ENGCRO