Rickie devastated by exit

Rickie Lambert has admitted that England’s exit from the World Cup is the “worst moment of his career” despite making his first appearance at a major tournament. 

Lambert was a late substitute for the Three Lions, winning his seventh cap, as they looked for a rapid response to Luis Suarez’s second goal for Uruguay in Sao Paulo on Thursday.

Watch Rickie Lambert’s exclusive interview with FATV here

However, the game would ultimately end in defeat, leaving their World Cup hopes on a knife-edge. Then Costa Rica ended their dreams a day later with victory over Italy.

Roy Hodgson’s men now face the Costa Rican table-toppers in their final game in Brazil before heading home.

“It’s a difficult scenario to be in, everyone’s disappointed about what’s happened and the fact that we’ve got one more game left,” Lambert told TheFA.com at the team hotel. 

“But we’ve got to be professional and we’ve got to give our best and get three points to finish on a high against Costa Rica. 

“It’s been the best experience of my career and probably the worst experience at the same time. It’s always difficult being an England fan and getting knocked out, but this time being involved is devastating to get knocked out at an early stage.”

He added: “It was probably the worst moment of my career when the final whistle went and we were knocked out of the World Cup. It was horrible. 

“Maybe I might look back in years to come and think ‘I’ve played in a World Cup’, that will live with me forever. But I can’t remember any moments that are as bad as that.” 

“The performances were not bad, but it’s the fine margins that went against us”

Rickie Lambert 

Lambert, who joined Liverpool from Southampton shortly before the World Cup, believes they need to remain positive after seeing some exciting performances from England’s fresh crop of young players.

A three-week build up to the tournament, which included training camps in Portugal, St. George’s Park and Miami, gave England the perfect foundations to build on during the tournament, according to the 32-year-old. 

And he feels their ultimate elimination from the Finals came down to the fine margins going against them in their games against Italy and Uruguay. 

“You can’t knock anything. The preparation at every stage has been perfect, the atmosphere amongst the squad has been perfect,” said Lambert. 

“The performances were not bad, but it’s the fine margins, which at top level football make all the difference, and they went against us twice. 

“We need time to get over what’s happened, that’s the only thing that is going to help us get over it.” 

Rickie Lambert

Lambert was speaking to TheFA.com at the team hotel in Rio

He continued: “One thing is very important – we don’t make any knee-jerk decisions. I think the set-up we have, the manager who is in charge is definitely the person we need to go forward with the group of young kids coming through. 

“The progression they have had under Roy has been amazing, so if he can keep the group together for another two years it’s going to be exiting and they are going to learn after what has just happened. 

“Roy has given the young players a chance and they have thrived on it. That’s definitely one of the positives we’ll take out of the World Cup and when the next scenario comes around in the next two years at the Euros, this is going to help them. That’s why this set-up needs to stay together.”

The former Bristol Rovers and Rochdale man also had a word for who he says are “the best fans in the world” who made their way to South America, and also those watching back home. 

Rickie Lambert

Lambert came on for his World Cup debut against Uruguay

With just one game remaining in Belo Horizonte on Tuesday, Lambert wants to give them what they deserve – a win and three points.

“It’s easy to say we want to do it for the England fans, but we really do. The support we’ve had at the two games, even when we’d got knocked out, they were clapping us,” he said. 

“They are the best in the world and they want success more than any other fans. 

“We’re only sorry, and devastated we couldn’t give it to them this time around.
Hopefully we can finish off with a good performance and three points.”