Celebrities, former players and royalty have been praising the England team for their “beautiful World Cup run”, calling them “heroes” who have made the country proud.
The Three Lions lost 2-1 to Croatia in the semi-final, bringing to an end a journey that inspired – and surprised – many fans.
But despite the heartbreak, they and manager Gareth Southgate have reconnected many people with the national team.
F1 driver Hamilton wrote on Twitter that the team had done England proud, showing “real grit and determination”.
He added: “You should hold you heads up high.”
Pundit and former England star Gary Lineker said he was “utterly choked” but the “young side gave absolutely everything”.
“It’s a huge step forward and they’ll only get better in the future,” he tweeted.
Utterly choked, but this young side gave absolutely everything. It’s a huge step forward and they’ll only get better in the future. They can hold their heads high, they did our country proud. Congratulations to Croatia.
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) July 11, 2018
Former national goalkeeper Peter Shilton said the missed first-half chances were “costly” but told fans to remember how far the team had come.
Rio Ferdinand posted a heartfelt video telling the team: “You have united the country and go home as heroes”.
England are out… unbelievable achievement from the boys, staff & every1 behind the scenes! You have united the country & go home as heroes! Special praise for Gareth… you have given us an identity & made us believe in Int football again! 🏴 @england @FIFAWorldCup pic.twitter.com/TXLFO6UUKd
— Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5) July 11, 2018
Prince William wrote from the Kensington Palace Twitter feed that he “couldn’t be more proud” of the England players, adding: “You’ve had an incredible World Cup, made history and gave us fans something to believe in.”
I know how disappointed @england must feel right now but I couldn’t be more proud of this team and you should hold your heads high. You’ve had an incredible #WorldCup, made history, and gave us fans something to believe in. We know there is more to come from this @england team. W
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) July 11, 2018
Politicians also added their praise, with Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn tweeting: “A heartbreaking way to go out but won’t forget what a great tournament it’s been for England.
“They should be extremely proud. We certainly are.”
Prime Minister Theresa May said the team had “a great journey that’s made the country proud”.
A heartbreaking way to go out but won’t forget what a great tournament it’s been for @England.@GarethSouthgate and his team have brought the country together and delivered our best World Cup result since 1990.
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) July 11, 2018
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby also said the team had “made the whole country proud”.
TV host James Corden tweeted in response to someone who said that England’s captain had let the team down: “Nobody let anybody down. Not one member of our squad.”
Please don’t be like this. I know you’re angry and I get it. But Nobody let anybody down. Not one member of our squad. And certainly not the player who is currently the top scorer at this World Cup Tournament. Be proud and hold on to the joy it gave you these past few weeks x https://t.co/m1WIlBuPSO
— James Corden (@JKCorden) July 11, 2018
David Baddiel, part of the Three Lions anthem that found new life during the tournament, thanked the team for a “beautiful World Cup run”.
Thanks to the England team, and manager, for giving us this beautiful World Cup run. It’s been a ride.
— David Baddiel (@Baddiel) July 11, 2018
Comedian and actor Jack Whitehall said he was “bitterly disappointed” but that England had “over-achieved” and given fans a “great summer”
Such a weird feeling. I’m bitterly disappointed. But don’t feel robbed, angry or particularly depressed. The team over achieved, played some really decent football and totally reset the nations attitude to international football. What a great summer they gave us. #ENG #WorldCuo
— Jack Whitehall (@jackwhitehall) July 11, 2018