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Hope and glory: Are you ready Shropshire?

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It’s the perfect day to be English and proud. Gareth Southgate will tonight aim to take the nation into only the second World Cup final in our history.

England expects: Gareth Southgate leads his team out against Croatia tonight, while yesterday around 400 RAF Cosford personnel were involved in the London parade to mark the centenary of the RAF

As an aperitif, servicemen and women from Shropshire travelled to London to mark the centenary of the RAF, turning the capital into a patriotic flag-filled parade ground as the skies were full with iconic aircraft.

Around 400 personnel from RAF Cosford took part in the parade along The Mall yesterday and the flypast was led by three helicopters from RAF Shawbury. The celebrations were led by the Queen, who was joined by other members of the Royal Family.

Group Captain Tone Baker, RAF Cosford’s Station Commander said: “It is a huge privilege. We are thrilled to have some of our youngest men and women taking part.”

Around 10,000 English fans will be in Moscow tonight to watch the Croatia semi-final. They include Carl Jex, from Shrewsbury, who has met several of the England players after previous games in the tournament.

He said: “I cannot wait. It’s very exciting times to be an England fan. It has been a great experience to go to the games and see this beautiful place.

“We’ve been making sure Shropshire is represented as we have got an England flag featuring the Shrewsbury Town crest.”

Pubs and shops today reported soaring trade ahead of tonight’s game. Official figures show the World Cup has benefited the UK economy.

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