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Despite the painful semi-final exit to Croatia, Gareth Southgate’s team have won many admirers, many of whom may have been disenchanted with the England team after past failures before the tournament had started.

The defeat to Iceland was practically rock bottom just two years ago. A lot has changed since then as England’s young crop of players have proven a transition towards better performances on the biggest stage is possible.

While they ultimately fell just short, they restored some much-needed pride to the English game along the way to the last four.

From a domestic point of view-with the new football season just three weeks away-can Leeds United and new coach Marcelo Bielsa learn anything from the English team’s valiant efforts this summer?


Leeds are similar to England in the sense that they have represented a fallen giant over the years. Many players who have adorned the Three Lions and white rose crests have struggled to play under the pressure of expectation. Both teams are accompanied by huge swathes of media attention and expectancy from their own fans.

The key is to play with pride, rather than fear as this young English side have showcased throughout the majority of their time in Russia. While the penalty win over Colombia was tense, and Croatia outplayed England in the second-half, Gareth Southgate’s team nonetheless showed plenty of exuberance in becoming the first England team to reach a World Cup semi-final for 28 years.

In particular, the 6-1 win over Panama

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