Eric Dier believes England’s FIFA World Cup 2018 performance helped unite the nation
It ended in tears for Gareth Southgate’s young England brigade.
Visibly devastated by the loss, England players, however, said the tournament helped rebuild a few burnt bridges between the national team and its fans. (FIFA WORLD CUP 2018 FULL COVERAGE)
“We believed that we could get all the way. To get this far was special but we wanted it to continue. Obviously we are disappointed,” midfielder Eric Dier told reporters at the mixed zone here on Wednesday.
“There will come a time when we will be able to look back and see the good what’s good has come from this,” said Dier.
“After France, the way we left the tournament is quite in contrast to the way we are leaving this one. I feel like we have reconnected with the fans. The relationship between England and the fans has been so negative for so long. We have reignited that reconnected with them. It’s so special for us. It makes playing for England so special; having that mutual feeling between us and them.”
With two general elections and a highly divisive referendum over Britain’s exit from the European Union polarising the country during the last three years, Dier said the power of the World Cup has helped bring the country together.
“When we look back, it gives us a lot of pride that we have brought the nation together. The country is going through quite a difficult time at the moment. I feel that we have given the people something to cheer about, something to enjoy and take their minds away from everything else over the past couple of weeks,” he remarked.
Harry Maguire said England exceeding expectations helped unify the country this summer.
“People at the start of the tournament were expecting a tough tournament for us and not to get really us. But we have got the people together; they have been right behind us from minute one, it has been incredible. We have been in this together: the players, staff and fans,” he said.
Skipper Harry Kane said the tournament will be a big learning curve for his side. “It hurts and it will hurt for a while; but we can hold our heads up high. It was a fantastic journey; we got further than anyone thought we could. We have just got to learn from it.”