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Fan frenzy reaches crescendo ahead of England's World Cup kick off



England explodes! Three Lions take the lead against Croatia with brilliant Kieran Trippier free kick in amazing start to nation's biggest game in a generation

  • 30million people are watching England take on Croatia tonight in homes, pubs and fan festivals
  • Kieran Trippier's early free kick has given the Three Lions an early lead in the huge semi final clash 
  • 20million pints will be sold as people watch game and 50,000 pints will be thrown each time England score
  • Supporters are already nervous and 10,000 supporters have paid thousands to fly out to Russia for match
  • Many are wearing waistcoats to honour manager Gareth Southgate calling today 'Waistcoat Wednesday'
  • Roads and railways set to be at their busiest at 5pm but have been 'quieter than Christmas Day' tonight
  • If they win, England will play in the World Cup final against France on Sunday - the first since 1966 
  • How are watching the game? Email your photos and videos to pictures@mailonline.co.uk

By Joseph Curtis and Martin Robinson, Uk Chief Reporter For Mailonline and Shekhar Bhatia In The Luzhniki Stadium In Moscow For Mailonline

Published: 12:33 EDT, 11 July 2018 | Updated: 14:21 EDT, 11 July 2018

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England have started like a rocket and sent fans into hysterics after taking an early lead in the nation's biggest match for a generation.

Kieran Trippier's brilliant early free kick put the Three Lions 1-0 up against Croatia in the World Cup semi final in Moscow.   

The Bury-born defender curled a free kick over the Croatian wall and past the goal keeper Daniel Subasic. 

It was a lead the 10,000 England fans inside the stadium could only have dreamed off and sent the supporters into raptures. 

The country has come to a stand-still and fans have packed themselves into bars and pubs in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and other major cities and towns.

And the nation is on tenterhooks with so much at stake in the match, the winner of which will face France on Sunday in what could be England's second-ever World Cup final. 

30,000 people are watching the match together in Hyde Park and big screens are also up and running across London, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Leeds, Bristol and Brighton, with pints flying around after the early goal.

Offices and landmarks were turned into giant crosses of St George today and staff wore their England shirts while schoolchildren swapped hymns for renditions of 'Three Lions' and giddy students danced on the chairs and desks in excitement. 

Bury-born defender Kieran Trippier put England into an early lead against Croatia in the World Cup semi final, pictured
Bury-born defender Kieran Trippier put England into an early lead against Croatia in the World Cup semi final, pictured

Bury-born defender Kieran Trippier put England into an early lead against Croatia in the World Cup semi final, pictured

The free kick sent England fans in the Luzhniki Stadium into raptures, pictured, as they could not believe how well the side started
The free kick sent England fans in the Luzhniki Stadium into raptures, pictured, as they could not believe how well the side started

The free kick sent England fans in the Luzhniki Stadium into raptures, pictured, as they could not believe how well the side started

Excitement reached fever pitch for England fans in Hyde Park today, pictured, as they waited for the World Cup semi final against Croatia to kick off
Excitement reached fever pitch for England fans in Hyde Park today, pictured, as they waited for the World Cup semi final against Croatia to kick off

Excitement reached fever pitch for England fans in Hyde Park today, pictured, as they waited for the World Cup semi final against Croatia to kick off

Pints went flying in Flat Iron Square in London, pictured, as hundreds rejoiced after the brilliant strike early on
Pints went flying in Flat Iron Square in London, pictured, as hundreds rejoiced after the brilliant strike early on

Pints went flying in Flat Iron Square in London, pictured, as hundreds rejoiced after the brilliant strike early on

The thousands of supporters in Hyde Park jumped into each other's arms and hugged after the fantastic strike
The thousands of supporters in Hyde Park jumped into each other's arms and hugged after the fantastic strike

The thousands of supporters in Hyde Park jumped into each other's arms and hugged after the fantastic strike

Songs and chants began straight away as fans continued to sing 'It's Coming Home' and got into the spirit of the game in Manchester
Songs and chants began straight away as fans continued to sing 'It's Coming Home' and got into the spirit of the game in Manchester

Songs and chants began straight away as fans continued to sing 'It's Coming Home' and got into the spirit of the game in Manchester

Fans also flocked to Castlefield Bowl in Manchester where around 8,000 were watching the match on a big screen
Fans also flocked to Castlefield Bowl in Manchester where around 8,000 were watching the match on a big screen

Fans also flocked to Castlefield Bowl in Manchester where around 8,000 were watching the match on a big screen

Thousands also packed out Millennium Square in Leeds, pictured, to watch the game at another big screen event
Thousands also packed out Millennium Square in Leeds, pictured, to watch the game at another big screen event

Thousands also packed out Millennium Square in Leeds, pictured, to watch the game at another big screen event

Many in Manchester were quick to get a pint of beer in ahead of the kickoff and were in good spirits, singing songs
Many in Manchester were quick to get a pint of beer in ahead of the kickoff and were in good spirits, singing songs

Many in Manchester were quick to get a pint of beer in ahead of the kickoff and were in good spirits, singing songs

Fans packed out Hyde Park and turned it into a sea of red and white as 30,000 people came together to back England
Fans packed out Hyde Park and turned it into a sea of red and white as 30,000 people came together to back England

Fans packed out Hyde Park and turned it into a sea of red and white as 30,000 people came together to back England

And there were plenty of people in waistcoats in London to show support for manager Gareth Southgate and his trademark look
And there were plenty of people in waistcoats in London to show support for manager Gareth Southgate and his trademark look

And there were plenty of people in waistcoats in London to show support for manager Gareth Southgate and his trademark look

England flags were also used as blankets as fans made themselves comfortable in Manchester ahead of the game
England flags were also used as blankets as fans made themselves comfortable in Manchester ahead of the game

England flags were also used as blankets as fans made themselves comfortable in Manchester ahead of the game

The crowds in Manchester could have been mistaken for being at the game such were their numbers, with one dressed up in England's famous grey Euro 1996 kit worn during the country's last football semi-final
The crowds in Manchester could have been mistaken for being at the game such were their numbers, with one dressed up in England's famous grey Euro 1996 kit worn during the country's last football semi-final

The crowds in Manchester could have been mistaken for being at the game such were their numbers, with one dressed up in England's famous grey Euro 1996 kit worn during the country's last football semi-final

Fans were in good cheer at Hyde Park as the clock counted down towards the big kick-off in Moscow
Fans were in good cheer at Hyde Park as the clock counted down towards the big kick-off in Moscow

Fans were in good cheer at Hyde Park as the clock counted down towards the big kick-off in Moscow

The Lightning Seeds, who made iconic song Three Lions with Baddiel & Skinner, played to a raucous crowd at Hyde Park
The Lightning Seeds, who made iconic song Three Lions with Baddiel & Skinner, played to a raucous crowd at Hyde Park

The Lightning Seeds, who made iconic song Three Lions with Baddiel & Skinner, played to a raucous crowd at Hyde Park

One fan in Hyde Park was kitted out in an England-themed suit, tie, hat, watch and sunglasses, pictured
One fan in Hyde Park was kitted out in an England-themed suit, tie, hat, watch and sunglasses, pictured

One fan in Hyde Park was kitted out in an England-themed suit, tie, hat, watch and sunglasses, pictured

But for some in Nottingham the game was not such an exciting option, with one having a sleep on the grass, pictured
But for some in Nottingham the game was not such an exciting option, with one having a sleep on the grass, pictured

But for some in Nottingham the game was not such an exciting option, with one having a sleep on the grass, pictured

This fan was pictured roaring into the crowd in Hyde Park as the sun began to drop, casting him into a shadow behind his England flag
This fan was pictured roaring into the crowd in Hyde Park as the sun began to drop, casting him into a shadow behind his England flag

This fan was pictured roaring into the crowd in Hyde Park as the sun began to drop, casting him into a shadow behind his England flag

Children at Nottingham Castle sat on each other's shoulders to get a better view of the game on a big screen
Children at Nottingham Castle sat on each other's shoulders to get a better view of the game on a big screen
One fan dressed up as Robin Hood in Nottingham to show his support
One fan dressed up as Robin Hood in Nottingham to show his support

Fans at Nottingham Castle sat on each other's shoulders to get a better view of a big screen, left, while one came as Robin Hood, right, to show his support

There was plenty of facepainting going on at Nottingham Castle as children were desperate to show their support
There was plenty of facepainting going on at Nottingham Castle as children were desperate to show their support

There was plenty of facepainting going on at Nottingham Castle as children were desperate to show their support

Gareth Southgate kept faith with the same side which has taken England to the semi-finals of the World Cup, naming an unchanged starting XI against Croatia.

With no injuries to worry about, Southgate submitted an identical team to that which began the last-16 game against Colombia and the quarter-final against Sweden.

That meant Jordan Henderson would have to do without the extra defensive assistance of Eric Dier in the midfield battle against Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic, while Raheem Sterling continued as the foil for six-goal top-scorer Harry Kane.

Lucky ticket-holders for the free screening in Hyde Park began arriving early on Wednesday afternoon to stake out their spots ahead of the big game.

Some, including window cleaner Fred Sweeney, 48, left work early to begin the party.

He is in confident mood, predicting a 2-1 win for the Three Lions.

England fans have turned Moscow's Red Square red, white and blue ahead of the World Cup semi final against Croatia, which is the country's biggest game for 28 years
England fans have turned Moscow's Red Square red, white and blue ahead of the World Cup semi final against Croatia, which is the country's biggest game for 28 years

England fans have turned Moscow's Red Square red, white and blue ahead of the World Cup semi final against Croatia, which is the country's biggest game for 28 years

Fans inside the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, pictured, decked themselves out in facepaint to show their support
Fans inside the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, pictured, decked themselves out in facepaint to show their support

Fans inside the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, pictured, decked themselves out in facepaint to show their support

An England fan at the match in Moscow with an inventive facepaint drawing supporting the side
An England fan at the match in Moscow with an inventive facepaint drawing supporting the side
One fan wore an England inspired hair band
One fan wore an England inspired hair band

Others in the Moscow stadium accessorised with England-inspired hairbands and facepaint including flags on their cheeks

Supporters have covered central Moscow in the flag of St George as they look forward to the Three Lions facing Croatia in Russia tonight 
Supporters have covered central Moscow in the flag of St George as they look forward to the Three Lions facing Croatia in Russia tonight 

Supporters have covered central Moscow in the flag of St George as they look forward to the Three Lions facing Croatia in Russia tonight 

A topless man in Moscow screams among the crowds of singing fans as England supporters' excitement for tonight's game continues to build 
A topless man in Moscow screams among the crowds of singing fans as England supporters' excitement for tonight's game continues to build 

A topless man in Moscow screams among the crowds of singing fans as England supporters' excitement for tonight's game continues to build 

Two fans in England shirts in Moscow and one wearing Russian hat sing and chant for their Three Lions heroes ahead of what they hope will be a triumphant night ahead
Two fans in England shirts in Moscow and one wearing Russian hat sing and chant for their Three Lions heroes ahead of what they hope will be a triumphant night ahead

Two fans in England shirts in Moscow and one wearing Russian hat sing and chant for their Three Lions heroes ahead of what they hope will be a triumphant night ahead

England's players were smiling as they inspected the pitch in Moscow around an hour before the game, pictured
England's players were smiling as they inspected the pitch in Moscow around an hour before the game, pictured

England's players were smiling as they inspected the pitch in Moscow around an hour before the game, pictured

Raheem Sterling, centre, and Phil Jones were among the players out on the pitch in Moscow as the nerves grew ahead of the game
Raheem Sterling, centre, and Phil Jones were among the players out on the pitch in Moscow as the nerves grew ahead of the game

Raheem Sterling, centre, and Phil Jones were among the players out on the pitch in Moscow as the nerves grew ahead of the game

'We don't need to be nervous, it's coming home,' he said. 'We're going to win it. We're going to win the World Cup.'

James Gordon, 22, from Enfield, north London, was wearing his school prom waistcoat in tribute to Gareth Southgate.

He posed for photos with other fans with his huge St George's Cross ahead of the game in Moscow.

He said: 'It's unbelievable - I never thought we'd be here.

'I was born in 1995 so 2002 World Cup I thought we'd do it, 2004 Euros thought we'd do it, 2006 World Cup thought we'd do it and we failed every single time.

'But I'm behind the boys all the way.

'We're going to win 2-0.'

Many fans on social media said they could not concentrate on work and other tasks today as the excitement was too much. Pictured are fans queuing outside a London bar
Many fans on social media said they could not concentrate on work and other tasks today as the excitement was too much. Pictured are fans queuing outside a London bar

Many fans on social media said they could not concentrate on work and other tasks today as the excitement was too much. Pictured are fans queuing outside a London bar

There were people wearing England shirts and clothes as far as the eye could see in Leeds tonight, pictured
There were people wearing England shirts and clothes as far as the eye could see in Leeds tonight, pictured

There were people wearing England shirts and clothes as far as the eye could see in Leeds tonight, pictured

Fans in Flat Iron Square, London, were pictured jumping and dancing around in anticipation of the big match
Fans in Flat Iron Square, London, were pictured jumping and dancing around in anticipation of the big match

Fans in Flat Iron Square, London, were pictured jumping and dancing around in anticipation of the big match

Others at Flat Iron Square hugged each other as they drank beer and draped themselves in England flags
Others at Flat Iron Square hugged each other as they drank beer and draped themselves in England flags

Others at Flat Iron Square hugged each other as they drank beer and draped themselves in England flags

This couple looked delighted to be in London at Flat Iron Square to support England wearing big smiles
This couple looked delighted to be in London at Flat Iron Square to support England wearing big smiles

This couple looked delighted to be in London at Flat Iron Square to support England wearing big smiles

This fan was keen to show his support by waving a flag around his shoulders at Flat Iron Square in London
This fan was keen to show his support by waving a flag around his shoulders at Flat Iron Square in London

This fan was keen to show his support by waving a flag around his shoulders at Flat Iron Square in London

Roads around the UK, including the A11 in Suffolk, pictured, were 'more empty than Christmas Day' as fans stayed in or walked to a pub to watch the game
Roads around the UK, including the A11 in Suffolk, pictured, were 'more empty than Christmas Day' as fans stayed in or walked to a pub to watch the game

Roads around the UK, including the A11 in Suffolk, pictured, were 'more empty than Christmas Day' as fans stayed in or walked to a pub to watch the game

Carpenter Ross Butler, 26, added: '(Raheem) Sterling's going to score for the first time tonight.'

Fans are in buoyant mood in Hyde Park as kick-off approaches with The Lightning Seeds - the band behind Three Lions (Football's Coming Home) - expected on stage soon.

London's World Cup fan zone is being transformed into a sea of red and white as revellers sing and dance in the summer sunshine.

Mike Marshall, 30, is predicting a 4-0 England victory.

He said: 'After the Columbia game - that was the most nerve-wracking game of my life - we have to get through. It would be criminal not to.'

Dan Chorlton, 35, predicted a 2-1 win in extra time.

'It's going to be a Vardy party,' he said.

Gareth Southgate, pictured, showed his support for the fans at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium ahead of the game
Gareth Southgate, pictured, showed his support for the fans at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium ahead of the game

Gareth Southgate, pictured, showed his support for the fans at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium ahead of the game

England fans have kitted themselves out in the national colours as they queue to get into bars and pubs in London for the huge match against Croatia tonight
England fans have kitted themselves out in the national colours as they queue to get into bars and pubs in London for the huge match against Croatia tonight

England fans have kitted themselves out in the national colours as they queue to get into bars and pubs in London for the huge match against Croatia tonight

Others have flocked to Hyde Park where 30,000 fans will watch the World Cup semi final on a big screen, the largest such event in London since Euro '96. Pictured is a woman waving an England flag 
Others have flocked to Hyde Park where 30,000 fans will watch the World Cup semi final on a big screen, the largest such event in London since Euro '96. Pictured is a woman waving an England flag 

Others have flocked to Hyde Park where 30,000 fans will watch the World Cup semi final on a big screen, the largest such event in London since Euro '96. Pictured is a woman waving an England flag 

These fans are waiting patiently in London outside a sports bar wearing their England shirts in support of the players
These fans are waiting patiently in London outside a sports bar wearing their England shirts in support of the players

These fans are waiting patiently in London outside a sports bar wearing their England shirts in support of the players

This fan in Nottingham has well and truly thrown himself into the match spirit, carrying several flags and England paraphernalia 
This fan in Nottingham has well and truly thrown himself into the match spirit, carrying several flags and England paraphernalia 

This fan in Nottingham has well and truly thrown himself into the match spirit, carrying several flags and England paraphernalia 

Some in London had nervous looks on their faces, pictured, as time ran down towards the kick off and so much riding on the result
Some in London had nervous looks on their faces, pictured, as time ran down towards the kick off and so much riding on the result

Some in London had nervous looks on their faces, pictured, as time ran down towards the kick off and so much riding on the result

The crowd at Hyde Park tonight, pictured, is the biggest outdoor screen event in London since an England game at Euro 96
The crowd at Hyde Park tonight, pictured, is the biggest outdoor screen event in London since an England game at Euro 96

The crowd at Hyde Park tonight, pictured, is the biggest outdoor screen event in London since an England game at Euro 96

One fan dressed up as Gareth Southgate complete with facemask, pictured, to show his support for the England team at Hyde Park
One fan dressed up as Gareth Southgate complete with facemask, pictured, to show his support for the England team at Hyde Park

One fan dressed up as Gareth Southgate complete with facemask, pictured, to show his support for the England team at Hyde Park

These ladies were all smiles and full of confidence as they arrived at Hyde Park tonight for the England match 
These ladies were all smiles and full of confidence as they arrived at Hyde Park tonight for the England match 

These ladies were all smiles and full of confidence as they arrived at Hyde Park tonight for the England match 

One little boy showed his support for Gareth Southgate's side by posing with a flag in front of Robin Hood's statue in Nottingham
One little boy showed his support for Gareth Southgate's side by posing with a flag in front of Robin Hood's statue in Nottingham

One little boy showed his support for Gareth Southgate's side by posing with a flag in front of Robin Hood's statue in Nottingham

Two fans enjoy the build-up to the game in Nottingham wearing clothes emboldened with the England crest
Two fans enjoy the build-up to the game in Nottingham wearing clothes emboldened with the England crest

Two fans enjoy the build-up to the game in Nottingham wearing clothes emboldened with the England crest

Today fans have been in a state of high excitement and anxiety ahead of England's most important match for 28 years, admitting they couldn't sleep last night and work became a 'non-event' today. 

Many took to social media as they celebrated leaving work hours early and heading to the pub for a drink to calm their already frayed nerves.

Charlie Clarke tweeted: 'England needs to get to the semi finals more often. our office have all sacked off work and now we're at the pub amazing' and Shona Fran wrote: 'Banked out from work 5 hours early, GET ME TO THE PUB ENGLAND'.   

Millions knocking off early is set to cause chaos on the roads and railways with rush hour starting at 2pm instead of 4pm and peaking at around 5pm.

But cities, towns and villages should all be deserted by 7pm and will be 'much quieter than Christmas Day', according to the RAC.    

Edmund King, president of the AA, said: 'Historically, the biggest TV events and quietest roads in the UK were during the World Cup final in 1966 followed by the funeral of Diana, Apollo 13, royal weddings and Muhammad Ali's 'Rumble in the Jungle'. This game will join the list'. 

one worker dances with excitement - a scene replicated across the country today
one worker dances with excitement - a scene replicated across the country today

Primary School pupils in Chorley, Lancashire, jig on their chairs singing 'Three Lions' and office workers dance by their desks ahead of England's first World Cup semi-final for 28 years  

Fans are already arriving at Hyde Park where 30,000 fans including this colourfully dressed gentleman will watch the game
Fans are already arriving at Hyde Park where 30,000 fans including this colourfully dressed gentleman will watch the game

Fans are already arriving at Hyde Park where 30,000 fans including this colourfully dressed gentleman will watch the game

Huge crowds will watch the game at Hyde Park (pictured)
Huge crowds will watch the game at Hyde Park (pictured)
Huge crowds will watch the game at Hyde Park (pictured)
Huge crowds will watch the game at Hyde Park (pictured)

Huge crowds will watch the game at Hyde Park (pictured), across London and other cities such a Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Leeds, Bristol and Brighton.

Young fans Gabriel, six, right, and Aryan, four, left, are among the lucky 10,000 in Moscow tonight for the match of their lives 
Young fans Gabriel, six, right, and Aryan, four, left, are among the lucky 10,000 in Moscow tonight for the match of their lives 

Young fans Gabriel, six, right, and Aryan, four, left, are among the lucky 10,000 in Moscow tonight for the match of their lives 

Workers at Hills Salvage and Recycling in Skelmersdale, Lancashire, which sits in the flight path for both Manchester and Liverpool John Lennon airports, created the huge flag from 176 red and white cars to cheer the team on
Workers at Hills Salvage and Recycling in Skelmersdale, Lancashire, which sits in the flight path for both Manchester and Liverpool John Lennon airports, created the huge flag from 176 red and white cars to cheer the team on

Workers at Hills Salvage and Recycling in Skelmersdale, Lancashire, which sits in the flight path for both Manchester and Liverpool John Lennon airports, created the huge flag from 176 red and white cars to cheer the team on

The ancient Westbury White Horse in Wiltshire has even been turned into an England flag  
The ancient Westbury White Horse in Wiltshire has even been turned into an England flag  
Southgate station in north London became 'Gareth Southgate' for the day
Southgate station in north London became 'Gareth Southgate' for the day

The ancient Westbury White Horse in Wiltshire has even been turned into an England flag  and Southgate station in north London became 'Gareth Southgate' for the day

The scaffolding on the outside of this building in Brighton has been turned into a giant England flag as World Cup fever sweeps the country
The scaffolding on the outside of this building in Brighton has been turned into a giant England flag as World Cup fever sweeps the country

The scaffolding on the outside of this building in Brighton has been turned into a giant England flag as World Cup fever sweeps the country

Fans are already leaving work in their droves and heading to the pub to settle in for another dramatic night of football
Fans are already leaving work in their droves and heading to the pub to settle in for another dramatic night of football
Fans are already leaving work in their droves and heading to the pub to settle in for another dramatic night of football
Fans are already leaving work in their droves and heading to the pub to settle in for another dramatic night of football

Fans are already leaving work in their droves and heading to the pub to settle in for another dramatic night of football

10,000 England fans are in Moscow hoping to get into the sold-out Luzhniki Stadium and are willing to pay £500-plus for a ticket having paid £3,000 or more on flights to be there.

Tube strike to hit thousands of England fans is now called off

A Tube strike due to start at 9pm tonight causing chaos at the end of England's World Cup battle with Croatia has been called off at the last minute.

Piccadilly Line drivers were due to walk out as thousands of fans leave London's pubs and squares to head home after the game.

But with just five hours until the industrial action the RMT union announced it was off after talks with Transport for London.  

Passengers needing to use the Piccadilly Line were being urged to complete their journey by 10pm to avoid getting marooned. 

If England's game goes to extra time and penalties thousands would have struggled to get home at all.

The industrial action was due to coincide with Donald Trump visit to the capital.

If the team win it will spark complete pandemonium up and down the land even before they play in the World Cup final against France on Sunday - the first since 1966.    

While the majority of supporters will watch the game at home, pubs will have their busiest night of the year with 20million pints sold - but an estimated 50,000 of them will be thrown every time England score.

Arron Besser tweeted: 'Biggest game in 28 years. Incredibly nervous and excited but whatever happens I am so proud of this England team so come on let's do it and get to the final!!'.

Alison Carr wrote: 'The day is here..... the day England have waited ten thousand, two hundred and thirty four days for

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