England's first World Cup semi-final since 1990 attracts few fans

England's first World Cup semi-final since 1990 attracts few fans

England's first World Cup semi-final since 1990 attracts few fans

"But from the second half onwards we played much better, and we showed our real standard", said Perisic.

Generating enormous support from fans at home, England's tournament restored some much-needed faith in the football team's ability to generate positivity, and good-feeling.

The Village in Station Hill was packed full of optimistic fans as Gareth Southgate's men played their first semi-final since 1990 against Croatia.

England must look to create "an empire" off the back of their surge to the World Cup semi-final having previously been the equivalent of a house "built on sand". "I don't think realistically we expected to be here".

While we didn't see Southgate plop down on the field to mourn the loss like some of his players did, photographers did capture an extremely touching post-game moment he shared with his wife Alison in the stands.

Croatia, a country of about 4 million people, came to a standstill as fans watched the game on screens in squares and cafes.

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In a lot of games it's small margins and it went their way today.

"We were planning to leave, but now we have to stay until Monday", said Sinisa Pavlek, a Croatian living in Germany as he emerged from the stadium with a broad smile on his face. "No trophy this time but it feels like the start of something every Englishman could get used to".

Reassured by positive reports from the tournament and inspired by the unexpected progress of their team, some England fans have raced to Russian Federation in recent days, with extra match tickets released by organizers FIFA and additional seats provided on Moscow-bound flights from Britain.

"It was a good game. That's why there haven't been many England fans here", said Mark Jowsey, 46, a butcher from Newcastle.

Playing a 3-5-2 formation and emphasising moving the ball quickly through the centre, England were a revelation at this World Cup, breaking their penalty curse against Colombia and strolling past Sweden to reach the last four.

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