Football

Fans react after England’s heartbreaking semi-final defeat to Croatia

Thousands of fans packed into Nottingham Castle to watch England’s semi-final defeat against Croatia 2-1.
Huge crowds cheered on Gareth Southgate’s team in what was England’s first World Cup semi-final since 1990.
But their cheers were in vain as England were dumped out in extra time.
England got off to the perfect start just five minutes in as Kieran Trippier’s curled free kick from just outside the box sent the 3000-strong crowd wild.
Croatia then replied by levelling the score through Ivan Perisic’s header on 68 minutes.
Extra time ensued and Mario Mandzukic then broke the nation’s heart as he scored the winning goal in the 109th minute to book his country’s place in Sunday’s final against France.
Fans were devastated by the result but also proud at the team’s achievements to reach the semi-final.
Tom Mison, 24, a personal carer from Netherfield told the Post: “I am so gutted. This is the worst sport has made me feel.
“We were poor second half and extra time and Croatia deserved it. Everyone is devastated of course but I doubt anyone predicted we would get this far. We can be proud of our football team for once.”
Richard Cameron, 38, of Sneinton added: “Typical England. They build you up and smash you down. I’m gutted.
“We didn’t deserve it second half. Very disappointing.
“I thought we were going to cruise it at half time. It wouldn’t be England without the drama.”
Rory Hunt, 24, of Bulwell, said: “The atmosphere has been immense. I honestly thought we were going to get through.
“I’m so disappointed. It just wasn’t meant to be! I am proud of how far we got though.”
England’s semi-final came after they beat Sweden in the quarter-finals. The group stages of the tournament saw England beat Tunisia and Panama and lose to Belgium.
Football fever has swept across the nation during the last week.
During the build-up to tonight’s game, British Airways handed out 300 waistcoats to customers flying from Heathrow to Moscow.
And it took just five minutes for all 3,000 tickets to be sold out to watch the match at the Castle after the tickets went on sale yesterday (July 10).
It was the second match to be screened at the venue after Saturday’s 2-0 win against Sweden.
Concerns had been raised about the large numbers of people in the city centre at any one time, after disruption in Old Market Square saw England fans trash a taxi, climb onto the roof of buildings and smash bus stops on Friar Lane. But Nottingham City Council said “no incidents of trouble” were recorded inside the Castle.
Nottinghamshire Police recalled officers from from rest days to ensure there was enough resources to manage the expected additional demand following the semi final and deal with any consequences
Speaking before the game, Assistant Chief Constable Steve Cooper said: “Last weekend saw an extremely busy time for us. The glorious weather meant more people were out in public spaces, enjoying the sunshine, often with an increase in alcohol consumption over several hours.
“The football was a huge draw into the city to watch the game, with a big screen at Nottingham Castle and most pubs also maximising the increased footfall.
“For us, policing was not just about a presence in the city centre. Football doesn’t stop crime, nor does it prevent people in distress from needing our help.
“There were certainly many other things going on requiring officers and staff to focus their attention.

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