Belgium squad handed hero’s welcome on FIFA World Cup 2018 return

Marcus Newton
July 16, 2018

Many England fans had been hoping to give their World Cup heroes a warm welcome upon their return from Russian Federation.

This is despite the Three Lions defying pre-tournament expectations and reaching the semi-finals of a World Cup for the first time in nearly 30 years.

Now, with the World Cup winding down and England players heading home to their various clubs, ready for the next domestic season, it's natural for fans to start thinking about the future.

'It has been a really nice journey, a really successful journey but in football you need to look forward and try to improve in the next opportunity that we have'.

"We've got some good players in our senior team and some good technical players in our development pathway as well", said Ashworth.

Harry Kane ended the World Cup with six goals from six shots on target, but had just one shot on target in his final four games, which was his penalty against Colombia in the round-of-16. He also knows that, generally speaking, we are looking at some other players.

But he said: "I don't want to think about myself at the moment, because we are a team".

Kylian Mbappé has had a superb World Cup, and was in great form again against Belgium, tormenting them with his pace and trickery.

"He's got a lot of ability and I can see him developing into a really talented player", said his team-mate Delph.

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Only Croatia stood in the way of England's first World Cup final since the heady days of 1966 when they won the tournament on home soil.

Southgate became a national hero: many Brits wore his signature waistcoat in his honour and some even took it upon themselves to rename Southgate station after the manager by writing "Gareth" above the station's Tube sign.

Croatia regularly plays home games in empty stadiums because of disciplinary orders from Federation Internationale de Football Association and UEFA.

Despite a best-ever tournament return, though, the Belgians are likely to be long haunted by a nagging sense they might have done so much better. We are doing a lot of work in preparing the players from a psychological perspective.

"We've been treated extremely fairly by everybody here", Southgate said.

"The good thing is we've had really mature conversations about it and now we've got to build on the squad that went out to Russian Federation".

"What we've done over the previous year is make decisions which have been right for keeping winning in the short term but also for mid- and long-term development".

"So the defeats have, I think, been hugely important for our development as well".

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