Manager Gareth Southgate said England have “no illusions” as to their standing in international football after finishing fourth at the World Cup in Russia.
Belgium won Saturday’s third-place playoff in Saint Petersburg with goals from Thomas Meunier and Eden Hazard to deny England their best finish at a World Cup on foreign soil.“We are very proud of what we’ve done, but we’re under no illusions as a team as to where we stand,” said Southgate, after his side lost to Belgium for the second time in the tournament.
“We finished in the final four but we’re not a top-four team yet, we’ve never hidden behind that. Against the very best teams we’ve come up short.”
England lost three of their seven matches at the tournament. Their 2-1 semi-final defeat by Croatia prevented them from reaching a first final in 52 years.
“I felt it was important to tell the team how proud I was of what they’d done and recognise how far they’d got,” Southgate said, as England matched their fourth-place finish from 1990.