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Video: Ecstasy turns to agony as England fans' World Cup dream shattered

By PA Reporters

England fans were left devastated as the nation missed out on a place in the World Cup final.

The dream was crushed for supporters in Moscow and at home as Gareth Southgate's men lost 2-1 to Croatia in the semi-final after extra-time.

Millions tuned into the eagerly-anticipated match, with sorrowful scenes up and down the country after days of singing "It's coming home".

The Duke of Cambridge took to the official Kensington Palace Twitter account to speak of his pride in the team.

Ending the tweet with a W, he wrote: "I know how disappointed @england must feel right now but I couldn't be more proud of this team and you should hold your heads high.

"You've had an incredible #WorldCup, made history, and gave us fans something to believe in.

"We know there is more to come from this @england team."

Prime Minister Theresa May said: "Wasn't to be this time but it's been a great journey that's made the country proud. We'll be flying the flag on Saturday."

England came to a standstill as the 7pm kick-off approached, with roads deserted and shopping centres abandoned as fans dashed home to catch the historic game.

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.

But a place in the World Cup final against France was not to be.

Within the first five minutes, English fans were given cause for celebration when Kieran Trippier scored a free kick, giving his side a dream 1-0 lead.

The crowd in London's Hyde Park went berserk as England scored, and those watching on the huge screen were drenched in beer as plastic cups flew through the air amid wild celebrations.

But emotions were to change, and fans in Bristol held their heads in their hands and wept following England's defeat.

Some threw drinks to the ground and stormed out of Ashton Gate Stadium, though some struck a more conciliatory tone.

Andy Bradley (42) from Hull, East Yorkshire, was among the throng of despondent England fans leaving Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.

He said: "They were the better team, that's all that happened. Semi-finals, they've done what they had to do, they took us to the semi-finals. What more could we ask for? For 70 minutes we battered them. We take it on the chin, we move on.

"England, we're proud of you, that's all I've got to say."

Comedian David Baddiel said England had given the country "a beautiful World Cup run".

The star - one of the creators of football anthem Three Lions - posted on Twitter: "Thanks to the England team, and manager, for giving us this beautiful World Cup run.

"It's been a ride."

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