By Paul Giblin
MOSCOW, July 12 (Xinhua) -- It's not coming home: despite all of the hopes that had risen over the past fortnight that a young England team could provide a footballing miracle and bring the World Cup back to England for the first time since 1966, they fell at the last hurdle, losing Wednesday 2-1 to Croatia in the semi-finals.
As the song "3-lions" effectively the hymn of the England side says, "all those 'oh-so-nears' bring you down in the end," but judging by the English front pages, this team has earned the respect and affection of both fans and press.
Maybe its because this England side has changed its relationship with the press corps which follows them around, changing secrecy and suspicion for openness, but the defeat has not attracted the criticism other past disappointments have.
The Sun headlines with "They're coming home, but every one's a hero," which isn't strictly true as England still have to play the Third and Fourth place final, while the Daily Express says they made one thing possible for millions of fans: "We lived the dream," which is certainly true as when the World Cup qualifying campaign began, they were playing to a half-empty Wembley Stadium and for that, as the Daily Mirror writes, although there was "Heartbreak for England," they were "Heroes."
The Times believes "England can hold their heads up high despite the pain of World Cup loss," and the best headline goes to the Daily Telegraph for "Pride of Lions."