England OUT of World Cup 2014: Joe Hart apologises to fans and vows to restore some pride in final match against Costa Rica
England goalkeeper thanks fans for their support and hopes to end with a flourish after back-to-back defeats
Saturday 21 June 2014
Joe Hart has apologised for England's early World Cup exit and vowed to do the country proud in their final game before jetting home.
Group D was always going to be a tough ask for the Three Lions but few could have expected them to bow out before most teams had played their second game.
However, surprise package Costa Rica's defeat of Italy on Friday ensured just that, condemning England to a first group-stage exit since 1958.
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It means they face Los Ticos in Belo Horizonte on Tuesday with nothing but pride on offer - something goalkeeper Hart knows they need to go some way to restoring before they return home.
"First and foremost, I would like to thank everyone that have been with us, for making the difficult journey out to Brazil," the England number one said.
"It is hard enough for us to get to the games and look how well treated we are, so I can't imagine what some people have been through, what sacrifices they've made.
"Their presence was felt at the games and the presence of people at home was felt. We are well aware that people moved work times, made a lot of effort to stay up for us, with kids staying up past their bedtime to watch us.
"We would like to thank them for their support. It meant everything to us and obviously we can only apologise that we're not going to take this country any further in the tournament.
"But I think the message will always be that we left nothing out there on the field. We gave everything in this tournament and we've just not quite been up to it.
"We owe it to the amazing fans who have travelled to come and support us [to get a result against Costa Rica].
"The effort the people have made at home, we owe it to them. We owe it to ourselves as proud Englishmen as ultimately we have come out here to do a job and we haven't done it.
"But we have one more game to go and whenever you play for England you play to win."
Hart spoke eloquently about England's failings and the manner in which he delivered his answers highlighted how raw the emotions remain.
"There are fine margins," he said. "It's hard to analyse.
"We have done some good things in this World Cup but we haven't done the ultimate good thing, which is to win the games.
"It is a really hard one to take. We are very frustrated and it is a very empty feeling right now, but we have another game to try and restore something and get something out of this trip."
Suarez heads the ball past Hart during the 2-1 defeat to Uruguay The Manchester City goalkeeper called this the lowest moment of his career to date - feelings many of his team-mates will no doubt echo.
Hart knows this is not a time for self-pity, though, highlighting the importance of sticking together if they are to restore some pride on Tuesday.
"He cares for his players and he has seen the hurt," he said of manager Roy Hodgson's reaction to their exit.
"Obviously if it was possible, he would say some magic word but that's just not possible.
"We have got to stick together as a group, which includes the manager. We've got to believe in what we've done, pick ourselves up, play as a squad and get ready for the game on Tuesday."
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