England

World Cup 2018: Despair as England lose semi-final

Fans console each other at London's Hyde Park Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The dream is over: Fans console each other at London's Hyde Park

Summer 2018 will be remembered for a lot of things - but none as special as England's World Cup dream.

For the semi-final, millions of fans up and down the country packed into pubs, parks, castles and caravans to cheer on Gareth Southgate's men.

There was a mass exodus of workplaces nationwide as people tuned in to one of the biggest matches in England's history.

Our reporters were out and about soaking up the atmosphere as a nation dared to dream.

But it was not meant to be, with England's lions falling to Croatia in extra time.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Chin up: A young fan is comforted in Castlefield Bowl, Manchester

At Hyde Park in London, up to 30,000 fans saw their team dig deep and battle. The screening of the World Cup semi-final was the biggest in the capital since Euro 96.

There were also screenings at Nottingham Castle, Manchester's Castlefield Bowl and on Brighton Beach.

While at Croydon's Boxpark, there was an early-doors beer shortage as joy turned to anxiety and then to heartbreak.

In Newcastle, the joy of Trippier's early goal turned to stunned silence when the second-half equaliser went in. And let's not mention Croatia's second.

At Hyde Park, father and son Andrew and Luke Downing, 39 and 13, were first in and at the front of the stage.

"We've been hovering around since two o'clock and came in as soon as the doors opened," Andrew said.

He added that he had every confidence England's pride and passion would get them to the semis.

Image caption Father and son Luke and Andrew Downing were first in line at Hyde Park
Image copyright EPA
Image caption Keep calm and carry on: Fans during extra time in Hyde Park

About 8,000 tickets were snapped up to watch the game at Castlefield Bowl in Manchester.

The city had gone football crazy, with people leaving work early at about 15:00 BST.

Friends Jack Moore, Rhys Greenwood and Scott Barnes said the bowl is "the only place to be".

"This is better than being in a pub," said Rhys.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Dry your eyes, mate - tearful supporters in Manchester

As fans poured out, the mood was one of pride.

Ibraheem Jameel, 23, from Manchester said: "We played well but were beaten by a better team. I am disappointed."

Mike Hoskinson, 24, from Warrington, added: "I am very proud - if you had said at the start of the tournament we would make the semi-finals I would have taken it."

And Nick Giles, 29, euphonium player with the Brighouse and Rastrick brass band, said: "We have exceeded all expectations."

Image caption "The bowl is the only place to be," say pals Jack Moore, Rhys Greenwood and Scott Barnes
Image caption Manchester goes mad for it when the England goal goes in

Drenched in evening sunshine, the nation's beaches were a popular spot to watch the match.

Fans went wild on Perranporth, Cornwall, when Trippier curled home his early opener. But their happiness disappeared with the setting sun.

On Brighton Beach, fans were glued to a big screen on the sand, which was also beaming out the tennis before World Cup fever took hold.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Fans in tears on Brighton Beach
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption In Harry we trust: Seeing triple on Brighton Beach

Sean Tipping, 31, a sales rep from Lindfield, said: "They've done well no matter what."

At Nottingham Castle, 3,000 tickets sold out within minutes of going on sale.

Red and white filled the grounds as people nervously gathered around the big screen.

Image copyright PA
Image caption A few spilled pints at Nottingham Castle
Image caption She had hope. Eight-year-old Lily Harkin's handiwork on Cole Bryceland in Nottingham
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Bated breath at Millennium Square, Leeds

When the final whistle blew, the sombre silence in the once-buzzing locations said it all.

But defiant choruses of Oasis' Don't Look Back in Anger were soon ringing out, along with proud applause and the national anthem.

And while it may not have come home, it came close enough.

Image copyright Getty Images

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