In the light of last night’s England defeat,  it was wonderful  to walk over to the Rec at 6pm to meet Gemma and James setting up the fitness training kit for our Onslow FC Under14s  (soon to be Under15s)…..  and see almost the full squad having a kick-about and ready for action.

We can take heart and learn from the way the England Team has performed through-out the tournament….   from the meteoric success they’ve had in getting to the World Cup semis, to the way they’ve acted as ambassadors for the sport and for our county.

It seemed to me that we gave Croatia too much time on the ball.   We didn’t press them enough to force the error,   instead we let them push deeper and deeper into our half.  Croatia, on the other hand,  pressed us as soon as we were on the ball,  getting tighter and tighter as we made our passes until they forced us to make the error, lose the ball and back they came again. They were more experienced and seemed tougher and more street wise than us.   But our youngsters  (except Ashley Young)  could have another couple of world cups at least…. They are not at the top of their game yet.  Semi-finals is not a bad start.

During the match and in poignant moment – after the match I could draw analogies  between the current England squad and our young grass-root football players.  I’m immensely proud of the England Team and still…. I can’t help being even more proud of our young lads for winning the league. We can draw on what  Gareth Southgate, his coaches and management team  and the England Football Squad have achieved over the past few weeks and how they went about their business on  and off the pitch.  We will take that with us and  be stronger as a team as we move up to SPL Championship League next season.