Kane: We felt we were good enough to win, but we have fallen just short... it hurts
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The Tottenham Hotspur and England striker reflected on the 2-1 loss to Croatia and how the emotions of the squad
Harry Kane admitted England felt they were good enough to win the World Cup, but was gutted they just come short in their efforts to do so.
The Spurs forward captained Three Lions again in last night’s semi-final against Croatia, but couldn’t help them build on a fifth-minute opener.
Club team-mate Kieran Trippier made it 1-0 to England with a stunning free kick, but Ivan Perisic equalised to force extra-time and Mario Mandzukic broke the hearts of Gareth Southgate’s team with a 109th-minute winner.
Kane told ITV Sport: “It’s tough. We’re gutted, we’ve worked so hard and the fans were amazing.
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“It was a tough game, a 50-50, and I’m sure we’ll look back at stuff we could have done better, but we worked as hard as we could. It does hurts a lot.
“This will hurt for a while, but we can hold our heads up. It’s been a fantastic journey and we’ve got further than anyone thought we would, so we’ve got to learn from it and take what we can.”
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He continued: “It’s been great to get to this stage and we know we have made everyone proud, but we wanted to go on and win it.
“We felt we were good enough and felt we could do that, but we have fallen just a bit short and it hurts, it hurts.”
After Trippier’s opener, England did have further chances to add to their lead, but failed to make the most of them.
Kane was played through on one occasion and saw an effort saved before he hit the post with a rebound shot, but he was later flagged for offside.
Croatia grew into the game in the second half though, and when Perisic levelled it had been coming.
Even in extra-time, it was the Croatians who looked the more likely and they found a winner with 11 minutes of the 120 left.
A dejected Kane admitted: “We created some good chances, but being 1-0 up maybe we dropped a little too deep at times and didn’t get enough pressure on the ball.
“There are lot of ifs and buts. It is hard, in these big games it’s small margins and it went their way.
“Until they scored we were always under the cosh, then when they scored we picked it up again, so I think there is a lot we could have done better, but they played well and made it difficult for us. It is hard to put your finger on it now.”
Disappointment may be high on the emotions of England players and fans, but so is pride and Kane acknowledged that at full time.
He also challenged the squad to ensure this isn’t a one-off ahead of Euro 2020 which will see some games played at Wembley.
“This shows we can be up there, and shows we can win knock-out games and get to semi-finals,” said Kane.
“Obviously the next step now is to go one step further. This is a great foundation we have built over the last couple of years with the gaffer and we just have to carry it on.
“We are proud of what we’ve achieved - but we wanted more. We are sad we couldn’t give the fans in Russia and back home a final, but we have to dust ourselves down, be proud of what we’ve achieved and go again in a couple of years.”