Fans gather to watch match in Edinburgh as England’s dream is over

Crowds of football supporters watch the England v Croatia World Cup semi-final at the Three Sister bar in the Cowgate, Edinburgh. 'Picture Ian Rutherford
Crowds of football supporters watch the England v Croatia World Cup semi-final at the Three Sister bar in the Cowgate, Edinburgh. 'Picture Ian Rutherford
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IT was the night legends were made, dreams shattered and the plane bringing football home was grounded in Moscow.

Croatia advanced to their first ever World Cup final with a 2-1 extra time win over England at the Luzhniki Stadium.

11/07/2018: Crowds of football supporters watch the England v Croatia World Cup semi-final at the Three Sister bar in the Cowgate, Edinburgh. 'Picture Ian Rutherford

11/07/2018: Crowds of football supporters watch the England v Croatia World Cup semi-final at the Three Sister bar in the Cowgate, Edinburgh. 'Picture Ian Rutherford

Juventus forward Mario Mandzukic scored the winner after Ivan Perisic levelled for Croatia following Kieran Trippier’s stunning opener.

Pubs across the Capital were bursting at the seams, with many having to operate a “one in, one out” policy as supporters descended on the city centre.

At the Three Sisters pub hundreds of fans packed into the outdoor courtyard to watch the match on a big screen.

Dozens of supporters arrived wearing England shirts and waistcoats in tribute to manager Gareth Southgate, with a few Croatia shirts on display.

11/07/2018: Crowds of football supporters watch the England v Croatia World Cup semi-final at the Three Sister bar in the Cowgate, Edinburgh. 'Picture Ian Rutherford

11/07/2018: Crowds of football supporters watch the England v Croatia World Cup semi-final at the Three Sister bar in the Cowgate, Edinburgh. 'Picture Ian Rutherford

Bosses at the bar in the Cowgate shipped in an added 400 kegs of Tennents, 200 kegs of Magners and 100 kegs of Guinness to keep fans going throughout the game.

England fan Wayne Keeble, 28, said he has “enjoyed the banter” with locals while watching England’s progress in Edinburgh.

Wayne, from Aylesbury, said: “It’s been a really good atmosphere all tournament up here, obviously you get a bit of banter with the locals, but generally it’s been really good.”

The sight of the Croatian team taking to the field for the warm-up on the big screen produced cheers and boos in equal measure, with the noisy English contingent singing every time Southgate appeared. Musician Chris McKeown, 35, from Aberdeenshire, proudly wore his Croatia shirt as he played pre-match with the rest of his Salmon and the Dog bandmates.

He said: “It has been a really good atmosphere all tournament, it always is here, there hasn’t been any animosity.”

Giving his pre-match prediction, Chris said: “Obviously I’m backing Croatia, I think they’ll win it 2-1.”

The match was watched by an estimated TV audience of more than 20 million.

Croatia’s midfield maestro Luka Modric got one of the 
biggest reactions of the evening when he was substituted during extra time. And there were wild celebrations from the Croatian-supporting contingent when Mandzukic fired home.

Post match, the England fans stayed in good spirits, continuing to sing even after the final whistle.

England fan and Chemical engineering student Dan Cutbertson, 21, said he was “proud” of the effort from his team.

Dan, from Gateshead, said: “It’s a weird feeling, because you are proud for their effort, but at the same time, you’re disappointed to come so close and not quite get there.”

“It has been good fun watching it up here, you don’t really get the same banter back home.”

Croatia move on to face France in the final at the Luzhniki on Sunday afternoon, while England face Belgium in the third place play-off.