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Sir Geoff Hurst's emotional letter to Southgate after England's World Cup run

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It's been an emotional rollercoaster for the last few weeks, but England's World Cup journey has finally come to an end.

Gareth Southgate's men lost their third place play-off with Belgium 2-0 thanks to goals from Thomas Meunier and Eden Hazard, but after their heart-breaking defeat to Croatia even a win wouldn't have lifted the spirits.

The Three Lions travelled far deeper into the competition than anyone realistically could've expected before the tournament began, even if they did get a more 'favourable' draw.

But it had been 12 years since England had won a knockout game, and never in a World Cup had they won a penalty shoot-out, and both of those demons have now been exorcised.

To have been less than half an hour from the final with such a young squad is an incredible achievement, and suffice to say the whole country has expressed nothing but pride, even in defeat.

Even members of England's victorious 1966 squad are paying their tributes to the team, having reached the last four for only the third time in history.

Sir Geoff Hurst, who famously scored a hat-trick in the 4-2 win against West Germany to win the World Cup, has penned an emotional letter to Southgate after the defeat to Belgium.

And it shows what everyone in the country thinks of their achievement.

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Hurst made several comparisons between the World Cup winning squad he was a part of with the current crop, and the former striker just about sums everything up perfectly.

"A lot of people have asked me whether this tournament reminded me of 1966," he said. "I have to say, yes — a lot of this England team remind me of us back in ’66, and you remind me very much of Sir Alf Ramsey.

"He was a master at building the team and getting the attitude of the players right — two things that were important in our victory.

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"You also deserve huge praise for picking Harry Kane as your captain — he’s a grounded guy, like Bobby Moore. Maybe one day he will be as loved and respected as Bobby Moore was, or even as famous as Bobby Charlton.

"We have a fantastic opportunity now. The country is in love with international football. Let’s not waste this moment.

Moore Kisses Cup

"Gareth, thank you for everything you’ve done. It’s been great for the country and great for English football. You’ve made us guys from ’66 feel very proud and very nostalgic."

The full version of the letter is available here, and it's a quite brilliant read.

While there is a sense of regret that the World Cup may never open up like that again, it's fantastic to see the country siding with the team even in defeat.

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Though they should really be preparing to contest the final with France later today, this group of players will only get better with age.

Roll on 2022 in Qatar.

Topics:
Geoff Hurst
Football
Gareth Southgate
Harry Kane
England Football
World Cup
Premier League

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