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Well, England, it's not coming home

In this edition of his World Cup analysis, Andrew Hallett feels England lacked the experience required to go all the way.

Tolga AKMEN / AFP england pic
Tolga AKMEN / AFP

We have our finalists! France will face Croatia in the final of the World Cup on Sunday in Moscow. This is going to be an intriguing game, as it pits two sides together who are both solid and explosive at the same time. Calling this one is tough, so you wouldn't want to be a betting person right now.

The casualties from the semi-finals are Belgium and England, who will now meet in the 'Bronze Final' on Saturday. Both sides had a go in the semis, but it wasn't to be. Belgium just couldn't break down an extremely well organised France, while England's young squad showed their inexperience.

Not many people gave England much of a chance to get as far as they did. England almost always flatter to deceive at big tournaments, with their last World Cup semi-final in 1990. The young group, however, went above and beyond what was expected of them and they can be extremely proud of their efforts. Those efforts, though, were just not good enough as Croatia showed their maturity in the battle and pipped the Three Lions when it mattered most.

The future does look bright, though, for the English. The majority of the squad is of an age which means at least three more major tournaments are possible together - EURO 2020, World Cup 2022, and EURO 2024.

Their boss Gareth Southgate has created a team spirit which has not been seen in a very long time, and if he is given the chance to continue his good work, then who knows what they might be able to achieve going forward?

They are not without issue, though...

Southgate needs to sort out his midfield. Star striker Harry Kane was constantly required to drop back into midfield to supplement his side's weaknesses in that area, with the lone Jordan Henderson struggling to gain any sort of control against the powerful Croatians. Southgate really should have gone with a two-man central midfield and pushed Dele Alli onto the shoulder of Kane up top. That would have meant that Kane could play his natural game, while England's midfield could grab a hold on that central battle.

Those areas are relatively easily fixed, as England do have a number of good youngsters who can play in central midfield, but time will tell whether this English side have what it takes to mature together and become a force to be reckoned with. Until such a time as that happens, they will continue to fall short, but there is no doubting the potential is huge.

Also read: Waving goodbye to Japan is hard

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