Manchester United and England defender Harry Maguire has tipped France to win the World Cup following England’s exit at the Quarter Final stage.
The Three Lions fell to a 2-1 defeat to the reigning world champions, with Harry Kane scoring a penalty in-between an Aurelien Tchouameni piledriver and Olivier Giroud’s header.
Kane had the chance to restore parity late in the game after Theo Hernandez fouled Mason Mount in the box, but the Tottenham Hotspur hitman skied his second penalty.
Maguire, who played every game for the Three Lions in the tournament, revealed the atmosphere in the dressing room after the defeat and tipped France to go all the way in Qatar.
“It was pretty quiet, if I am honest,” the 29-year-old said via Evening Standard. “A lot of lads just sat there disappointed. That’s the hardest thing to take. We believed we would win the tournament.
“They are the world champions, and for me, I think they will go on to lift the World Cup, but being totally honest, we were a lot better than them in a lot of areas.
“They are the World Cup champions for a reason. They are clinical, ruthless, they’ve got experience. One thing I would say about this group of lads, I think we’ve proven tonight that we belong on this stage in these big games at these big tournament knockout matches.
“I think we’ve proven that tonight even though we’ve lost the game.”
England were one of the favourites to win the competition but falling at the quarter-final stage to another tournament favourite in France means the Three Lions have failed to end a run of disappointment at major tournaments since last winning the competition in 1966.
Maguire had a solid competition all things considered. The former Leicester City man has been subject to scrutiny and online abuse for his performances for his club side, and many felt he did not deserve a place in Gareth Southgate’s squad.
However, following England’s exit, Maguire admitted he is proud to have proven his worth again after United shelled out around £80 million to take him to Old Trafford.
“I’ve played every game,” he added. “I’m proud of my mentality to prove it to myself again. I don’t need to prove it to others.
“I don’t do it for myself. I look at the team every time I put on this shirt, and I want the team to do well. I would have preferred to have had a bad game and got through.”
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