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15 Jul 2018

England: Reasons to be optimistic for the future

England: Reasons to be optimistic for the future

England matched their second-best finish with fourth this time around, but which youngsters could be bolstering the ranks by the time the Three Lions hit Qatar?

Reuters/LEE SMITH

So, that was how England's magical summer of '18 ended. Not with a bang, not quite with a whimper either - just with a defeat to an excellent football team.

The Three Lions have been far from perfect at this tournament. Their reliance on set pieces, their disappointing results against the two really good sides they faced, the paradoxical misfiring of likely Golden Boot winner Harry Kane in the latter stages.

But it has been one heck of a first step. England will look to build on this semi-final run with their jaunts around the continent at Euro 2020, with a side that is likely to be fairly similar to this one.

By the time 2022 comes around though, there will be fresh blood on the scene. This England team is exceptionally young, but the talent that is coming through looks to be too good to ignore. 

That should be very exciting, and a reminder of England's youth sides' triumphs in the past couple of years is a helpful shot in the arm after the downbeat feel of the past few days, with the country dragging itself through to the third-place playoff with all the energy of a deflated blimp.

So what have England fans got to be cheerful about?