Gareth Southgate shared a special moment with England’s fans at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow after the Three Lions exited the World Cup at the semi-final stage.
England were beaten 2-1 following extra-time by Croatia after Mario Mandzukic’s winner in the additional period dashed the hopes of a nation.
Despite the defeat, this young England side have captured the imagination of the country – and Southgate has become a hero among supporters.
The former Middlesbrough boss came back out on to the pitch after victories over Colombia and Sweden in the knockout stage to thank England fans and be serenaded by those in the ground.
And it was no different in the Russian capital in spite of the defeat, which saw Ivan Perisic cancel out Kieran Trippier’s opener to force extra-time.
“Southgate you’re the one,” rang out as defiant England fans paid tribute to the manager as the Three Lions now look ahead to their Euro 2020 qualification campaign.
After the loss, Southgate insisted he remained proud of his players, while admitting the result was difficult to take.
“I’m hugely proud of what they’ve done,” said Southgate. “I couldn’t have asked them to give any more for me or the country.
“At the moment we all feel the pain of the defeat. Did we feel we would be in this position? Realistically, I don’t think any of us did.
“But when you get to this point and play as well as we did in the first-half, you want to take those opportunities in life.
“The dressing-room is a very difficult place at the moment. But I’m remarkably proud of a group of players who have really advanced.
“The reaction of the supporters at the end, compared to two years ago, tells them that experiences with England can be positive.
“It tells them the country are very proud of what they’ve done and the way they’ve played, and there will in time be lots of positives to take.”