Harry Maguire admits he still cannot bare to watch England’s World Cup semi-final defeat to Croatia

England resume competition this Saturday against Spain in the Uefa Nations League and Maguire reflected with pride at the achievements of the team this summer

Jack Pitt-Brooke
Tuesday 04 September 2018 20:42 BST
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Harry Maguire still finds it difficult to watch England’s World Cup semi-final defeat to Croatia, almost two months after it happened, because he is still so “gutted” to have got that close to the final but missed out.

England resume competition this Saturday against Spain in the Uefa Nations League, their first match since the World Cup in Russia. Maguire, speaking at St George’s Park on Tuesday, reflected with pride at the achievements of the team this summer, he also opened up on the pain he still felt when he looked back on England’s exit in the Luzhniki.

England were 1-0 up with 22 minutes left in the semi-final before conceding twice to Croatia, who went on to lose to France in the final four days. Asked whether he still looks back at that turnaround with some regret, Maguire confirmed that he did.

“Definitely, without a doubt,” Maguire said. “I still see little clips now and again and you get that little bit of a buzz and you still have the memories. But I still have that bit inside me which is a bit disappointed. It does make me feel a little bit gutted at times to think how close we were. We were really close, at half-time we had one foot in the final of a World Cup so if you look back at that game it is disappointing.”

Then asked if he had watched the full two hours of the Croatia game back, Maguire said he had only seen the shorter version. “I have watched the highlights,” Maguire said. “I find it tough to be honest, to watch it back. I have watched my goal [against Sweden] more than anything to be honest.”

Harry Maguire has a key component for Gareth Southgate
Harry Maguire has a key component for Gareth Southgate (Reuters)

Looking at that Croatia game, Maguire still believes that England were not as badly outplayed in the second half as many thought at the time. “In the game the England fans thought we were under pressure, but that was the intensity of the game, the emotions of the game,” he said. “Playing the game I felt really comfortable, and I really did feel they weren’t going to hurt us or score. That’s always on my mind when I think about the Croatia game. But it’s gone now, and something we have to move on from.”

But Maguire’s overall reflections on the tournament were still extremely positive despite the pain of how they went out. “Overall I think it was an unbelievable experience, one that I am really proud to have been part of,” he said. “When you look at the experience and what we did for the country, everyone getting right behind us, and it was something really special and something we want to do again in the future.”

Although Maguire went on holiday to Barbados to relax before the new season, he said that he has been asked for plenty of photographs while in England. Especially when he went to see his two brothers play football against each other at the end of the summer. “I watched Gainsborough v Chesterfield, my brothers play for either side,” Maguire said. “At half-time, there was a pretty long queue. I tried to get through as many as I could. I think they restricted them to one photo or a signature each to try and get through. There must have been a good few hundred queueing up. That was probably the busiest place I have been but it is nice.”

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