Shropshire fans keep the faith as they swing from joy to despair as England slip to World Cup defeat

England's men failed in fighting fashion leaving fans across Shropshire ruing a succession of missed chances - including a penalty - in their battling World Cup quarter final defeat.

The result was disappointing for fans at Shrewsbury's Salopian bar.
The result was disappointing for fans at Shrewsbury's Salopian bar.

A tantalising chance to play Morocco in the semi final on Wednesday went begging when skipper Harry Kane ballooned his second penalty well over the bar deep into the second half.

At that stage, England were 2-1 down and an equaliser would have been a fantastic filip for the Shrewsbury faithful.

The frustration of the fans must have been felt 4,355.3 miles away from Shrewsbury's Salopian bar as England locked horns with defending world champions France at the Al Bayt Stadium.

A raucous crowd had filled the pub with the sounds of chanting and a rousing rendition of the National Anthem before kick off.

They gathered in the Smithfield Road bar in some cases for hours before kick off and staff were having to turn away people a good 45 minutes before the game started.

Among the crowd was Tyler Alcock, 35, from Shrewsbury, the manager of league leading Cruckton Rovers.

Before the start he reckoned it would finish 3-1 to England with skipper Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford and defender Harry Maguire netting for the Three Lions.

England fans watching the game at the Salopian Bar in Shrewsbury.

He believes the secret of good team management is to "let the lads do what they want."

The crowd was male dominated as to be expected but women were dotted in among the crowd. Friends Lucy Andrews, Alicia Pritchard, Nia Bowen and Hannah Coachey were there for the atmosphere.

They secretly admitted to be Wales supporters with one adding: "We're out now so it doesn't matter," following the collapse of the Red Wall under the English onslaught.

England v France quarter-Final at the Qatar 2022 World Cup. Picture by Phil Blagg Photography.

Friends Jack Eberle, Sam Sanderson and Ollie Davies-Pugh travelled into town from outside of Shrewsbury to get behind the boys in white.

And even from many hundreds of miles away in Qatar, the crowd, with its whistling of the French national anthem, cheers for God Save the King, loud clapping and cheering, and renditions of It's Coming Home must have made themselves heard if not in the ground, at least in Frankwell, across the river.

England v France quarter-Final at the Qatar 2022 World Cup. England fans watching the game at the Salopian Bar in Shrewsbury. Picture by Phil Blagg Photography. PB132-2022

England got off to a seemingly solid start until Aurélien Tchouaméni fired his low shot past the despairing dive of unsighted England keeper Jordan Pickford on 17 minutes.

The crowd went into despair but picked themselves up as their side showed their mettle.

England began to dominate and the lively crowd implored the referee to give first a free kick when Arsenals Bukayo Saka was brought down. Hopes went even higher when skipper Harry Kane was then bundled over on the edge of the penalty box after 25 minutes.

A long VAR review gave the Salopian super fans greater hopes that they'd get to see a penalty. But a review brought despair.

England still had their chances with intricate passes around the edge of the area and were dominating play but could not find a way through the stout French defences.

As the half time whistle blew, Tyler Alcock was keeping the faith.

"Southgate is a tournament manager," he said. "They are playing well and France scored a good goal. They've got to keep going the way they are. "

And Tyler's faith was well returned after 54 minutes when England's captain cool Harry Kane blasted in a penalty.

The roof could have blown off the Salopian at that stage and was soon followed by a rousing chant of England, England.

England were seemed to be giving more than they were getting and chances came frequently, fans with heads in hands and groans in unison with their comrades those thousands of miles away.

Not least when much-derided Manchester United defender Harry Maguire almost took the paint off the outside of the post from a free kick on 69 minutes.

But hope turned to disbelief on 78 minutes when France's record goalscorer Olivier Giroud banged one in to give Les Bleus a 2-1 lead.

A crude shoulder charge on Mason Mount brought disbelief when the referee failed to point to the spot. But the rafters of the pub reverberated to cheers once more when VAR came to the rescue.

But England's usually reliable captain Kane blasted the spot kick over the bar to dash hopes of an immediate equaliser.

England still showed fighting spirit, giving the fans hope even in the last minute of eight minutes of added time.

Marcus Rashford gave England hope when he stood over the ball for a free kick in the very last minute. But he hit it just over the bar.

Disappointment was the first emotion from the fans but Tyler and other knew and took pride in the Three Lions giving France a good run for their money.

And who knows, there's always hope and a next time in the beautiful game.

Sport fan Ollie Parry, joint owner of the Salopian bar was disappointed from a business point of view to see Harry Kane miss his second spot kick and for England crash out but says there is plenty to look forward to.

"The Premier League returns after six weeks on Boxing Day, the Six Nations Rugby is in February and the Rugby World Cup will draw in the fans. We are always packed for England and Wales games," said Welshman Ollie.

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