England missed a golden opportunity to progress to the final of the Russia 2018 World Cup and possibly win the trophy that has eluded the Three Lions since 1966, Manchester United coach, Jose Mourinho, has said.
England put up a spirited fight against Croatia in their semi-final clash, but lost 2-1 in extra-time.
The Three Lions had taken the lead in the first half through a sublime free kick by Keieran Trippier, but Croatia's Ivan Perisic equalised late in the second half to send the game into extra-time.
Both sides tried hard to win it in extra-time, but it was Croatia who got lucky, with striker Mario Mandzukic sending a left-footed shot past England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford in the second half of extra-time.
Analysts had predicted wrongly that with Croatia having played extra-time in their two previous matches, England would have more fresh legs and would be favourites to win.
In a reaction on Russia Today, Mourinho stressed that the match was a missed opportunity for England.
He said although England had reason to cry, there was also reason for them to be excited and optimistic.
The Man United coach said the Three Lion's young team could achieve great things in the near future.
“England have reason to cry because they were so close, but they also have reason to be optimistic.
“The team improved a lot in relation to previous appearances. It's a young team, the majority of the players will play in the next World Cup with more experience at club level," he said.
Mourinho also urged the English FA to maintain Coach Gareth Southgate and his assistant, Steve Holland, in their jobs to enable them lead England in the upcoming Euros and the Qatar 2022 World Cup.
“If I was in charge of the FA there would be no doubt that I would keep Gareth Southgate and Steve Holland in their jobs and give them the chance to take the team to the next Euros and the next World Cup," he said.
“The players and the squad, everybody involved in the World Cup, have a reason to come back home with pride after giving everything and making the country proud.”
Croatia, who defied the odds to qualify for their first World Cup final ever, will now play for a chance to win the trophy against France on Sunday.
England, meanwhile, will try to salvage some pride in their third place match against Belgium.