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They join the oh-so-nears! England fans' joy then despair over Three Lions - PICTURES and VIDEO

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It was supposed to have been the night football took a step closer to coming home.

It started well enough – fans get behind the boys with plenty of chants

But in the end it just wasn’t to be. England crashed out of the World Cup after a 2-1 defeat to Croatia after extra time.

Just making the semi-final was more than anybody expected and pubs across the county were packed last night to cheer on Gareth Southgate’s young side.

Fans cheering on team

Ben Dunham, 23, who has just graduated from Manchester University, was drinking in The Salopian bar in Shrewsbury.

“I’m completely devastated at the result, more than I thought I would be,” he said.

“I think they went wrong by trying to sit on the 1-0 win in the first half, they got way too comfortable and it made it harder to fight their way out.

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“They’ve done incredibly well, it’s the best tournament I’ve ever watched. I’m now going to go home and be very miserable. I think France are going to win overall, that’s my prediction.”

Fans stare in despair as the match clips away from England

Shane Clee, 37, an agricultural goods salesman, said: “I’m a huge footie fan, and a big Shrewsbury Town fan in particular.

“I’m here with my Welsh mates who are pretending to be Englishmen for the night. I brought a few pals up to Shrewsbury for the night, it’s been great. They’re playing even better than I expected – getting a score in the first five minutes was cracking. I thought it would be more of a test than this.

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“Got to admit it’s a great atmosphere. I have been here since this afternoon and the pub has gradually filled up. We’ve been waiting 28 years just to get to the semi-final again.

“It’s not just my generation, it would be fantastic for the younger generation too if we won.”

Fans outside The Bulls Head
England fans nervously watch on

Former footballer Samantha Scriven, 28, an operating department practitioner, said: “I love football, I used to play for Shrewsbury ladies and Wolves too. The atmosphere was great because it’s nice to see children getting involved and getting behind the team as well as adults. I think England have got a really strong team this year, they are all so young and when you’re young, you just go for it and don’t worry.

“The team haven’t really played much together either. I thought it would be 2-1 to Croatia. It would have been so amazing to win the cup.”

Ollie Thomson, 25, a planning officer at Shropshire Council, said: “I’m a massive football fan – it was a hell of a great start, strong attack too.

“I thought in the second half they were going to totally smash it.

“I originally said we’d go to penalties. It would have meant everything to win the game and the World Cup.”

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