England fans were left devastated tonight after being beaten by Croatia.
In truth the reaction to England's semi-final loss has been notable for it's even-handedness, reflectiveness and dare we suggest it, even mild positivity, after what was in reality a campaign that largely exceeded expectations.
Asked how far he thought the still young England team could progress in the next World Cup, he said: "This far, if not the final".
"We've proved to ourselves that is possible and we've proved to our country that is possible".
Making matters worse is the fact that while the teams have no way to win the tournament, they still must play one more match that's essentially meaningless - the third-place match, which Belgium and England will compete in on Saturday. "Everybody has come. It's the best feeling in a long time".
Captain Luka Modric repeatedly said: "We have shown our character". - Belgium and England are the first teams to face each other twice at a World Cup tournament since Turkey played Brazil twice at the 2002 World Cup. Getting on the scoresheet here would probably see him over the line, while a hat trick would take him to nine goals, the most scored at a World Cup since 1970.
"The fans are excited to watch us again and that is how we have to keep it".
Federation Internationale de Football Association has employed teams of specialist observers at all World Cup matches to detect possible racist and homophobic chanting and banners at matches.
"But we have our hearts, our pride and our players and that is what is really important to us". "And during the game as I wanted to make substitutions, all of the players kept saying "Not me, not me". And I know we will.
"Ante Rebic said he couldn't play and I told them only those who were 100% fit will play".
A promise: "If we win, all the team will dye our hair".
However, he was ridiculed during his playing days after missing a crucial penalty at Euro 96 to see England lose on home soil to Germany.