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it was a victory for england that it did not disgrace itself in defeat

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it was a victory for england that it did not disgrace itself in defeat

for the first time in recent memory, england played better than expected at a world cup. sure, its 2–1 extra-time loss to croatia in the semifinals on wednesday was disappointing, but the defeat was more palatable than most three lions failures. at least england didn’t go out on penalties. you hate to see a team lose due to a cliché, but england really did score too early. unsurprisingly, that goal came from a set piece—its ninth such goal of the tournament—but kieran trippier’s curling and dipping free kick was the prettiest of the lot. it was, as they say, “a strike worthy of winning any match.” sadly, england had to defend for more than 85 minutes to make that turn of phrase come true (they didn’t, and it didn’t)...