England fans’ faces reveal nation’s heartbreak after World Cup semi-final loss
Millions of fans across the country drowned their sorrows tonight as England’s brave World Cup effort came to a devastating end.
But despite the loss, Gareth Southgate’s men were lauded by supporters after a tournament that should be seen as a huge success for our young team.
There had been wild scenes at fan parks and pubs across England as partying Three Lions supporters prepared for history to be made
after Kieran Trippier’s fifth-minute goal gave us the lead.
But, sadly, it was not to be as our young players were unable to overcome a talented Croatia side in Moscow.
Closer to home, fans in Bristol held their heads in their hands and wept. Some threw drinks to the ground and stormed out of the
Ashton Gate Stadium fan zone but others were more philosophical.
Josh Quinn, 22, from Bristol, said: “It was a disappointing performance from England. The first half was amazing and the second half was terrible. I feel disappointed but proud.”
Max Pemberton, 24, from Gloucester, had worn a waistcoat like Southgate’s to watch the match. “I’m devastated,” he said.
“They have done so well. I’m devastated for them. It is the first time in our lifetime that we have seen a semi-final. I really thought we would see a final though.”
Roads across the country were empty as England’s biggest match since 1990 was taking place.
Some 30 million fans were glued to screens at fan parks, in pubs and in the comfort of their own homes.
An incredible 30,000 crammed into London’s Hyde Park for the capital’s biggest screening of a match since the European Championships in 1996. The crowd went berserk as the team went ahead – as they did across the country.
Those watching on huge screens were drenched in beer as plastic cups flew amid
Deborah Lowe, 57, of Walthamstow, East London, was one of the many new fans Gareth Southgate’s men have gained after the incredible run. She said after Trippier’s goal: “That was unexpected and exciting.
“I’m not usually a football fan but the way this team has been playing has made me get behind them and I’m now hooked.”
Beer was thrown through the air even before the match in Hyde Park as the Lightning Seeds, the band behind the Football’s Coming Home anthem, gave supporters a rendition of the tune that has galvanised the nation once again.
The capital’s chaotic scenes of celebration after the scoring opened were echoed at all the fan parks and pubs.
England out of World Cup after Croatia defeat
But the mood gradually changed as the match went on and jubilant chants of “football’s coming home” turned slowly into nervous silence.
Manchester had three venues screening the match, with Castlefield Bowl, Victoria Warehouse and Albert Hall all packed.
In Leeds, the city’s Millennium Square was awash with white and red.
Brighton beach once again held a showing for supporters on the south coast and Birmingham’s Archway outdoor cinema was the venue for fans in England’s second city.
Like other venues, Box Park in Croydon went berserk when England scored. In Liverpool the Pier Head was rammed with supporters, as was Times Square in Newcastle.
Nottingham and Stockport also hosted screenings.
Some 20 million pints were sold across the country before kick-off. And it was estimated that 50,000 beers were thrown into the air when the Three Lions took the lead.
Across the Atlantic, hundreds of supporters packed into the British-themed Cat And Fiddle pub in Hollywood to catch the action.
Elspeth Patient, 34, who is originally from Milton Keynes but now lives in Los Angeles, said: “It has been amazing. It’s been such an incredible time for England.”
Members of the Grenadier Guards serving in Afghanistan also got to see the game.
But in the end it was tears of sadness rather than joy that united all the England fans around the globe. The 23-man England squad, which has an average age of just over 26 and was the tournament’s third youngest, had the hopes and expectations of a nation on their shoulders.
So the nation wept collectively as Southgate took to the field to comfort his devastated players. There was also an outpouring of emotion on social media immediately after the game, as fans hailed Southgate a “national heo”.
Many expressed how proud” they were of England for the first time in years.
One wrote: “Wow, heartbroken but proud of the team. Bodes well for next decade of England development. It will come home.”
Another said: “You still did your nation proud and made us believe, a very big well done to you lads.” One fan added: “Not gutted, just feel quite proud of what we’ve achieved – thoroughly enjoyed the journey. Well done, England.”
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