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World Cup 2018: England glued to semi-final

Fans celebrate Trippier's goalImage copyright Getty Images
Image caption He’s only gone and done it! Fans in Hyde Park celebrate Trippier’s early goal

Pubs, parks, castles, caravans – it doesn’t matter where you’re watching, as long as you’re watching.

Following a mass exodus of workplaces up and down the country, millions are glued to one of the biggest matches in England’s history.

Our reporters are out and about soaking up the atmosphere as a nation dares to dream.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption There’s thousands of fingers (and toes) crossed in the capital

We’re at Hyde Park in London, where up to 30,000 fans will (hopefully) see their team triumph over Croatia. The screening of the World Cup semi-final is the biggest in the capital since Euro 96.

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

While at Croydon’s Boxpark, there’s already a beer shortage.

In Newcastle, the joy of Trippier’s early goal turned to stunned silence when the second-half equaliser went in.

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.

“Since the start I’ve had every confidence we would get through to the semis. We’re going to win 2-1.”

Image caption Father and son Luke and Andrew Downing were first in line at Hyde Park
Image caption Jess Baker, Dan Hanna and Dizzy Baker are predicting a 2-1 England win

Jess Baker, Dan Hanna and Dizzy Baker are predicting a 2-1 England victory.

Dizzy said: “We’ve got our spot, we’ve set our blanket and that’s us for the rest of the day.

“I’m nervous, excited and confident at the same time. I think we’re going to do it, but it will go to penalties.”

Jess added: “We’re going to win 2-1. Croatia are going to score first. We’ll panic, bring on Rashford and he’ll bring it home for us.”

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

The city has gone football crazy, with people leaving work early at around 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. “And we’re going for 2-1 to England.”

And the scorer?

“It has to be Harry Kane.”

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

Drenched in evening sunshine, the nation’s beaches are proving a popular spot to watch the match.

Fans went wild on Perranporth, Cornwall, when Trippier curled home his early opener.

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

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption In Harry we trust: Seeing triple on Brighton Beach

Sean Tipping, 31, a sales rep from Lindfield, said: “I’m excited. The way we are playing at the moment, our set pieces are so dangerous. 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.

And at Millennium Square, Leeds, thousands are watching with anticipation.

But it’s obviously not just in England where the tension is building.

Meanwhile in Moscow . . .

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