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England holds its breath as World Cup semi-final looms

Wednesday 11/July/2018 - 04:13 PM
Sada El Balad
Edit by: Mohamed Emad

Millions of expectant England fans will be glued to TV sets on Wednesday evening hoping the national team can reach the World Cup final for only the second time in their history، according to The Guardian.

Pubs، bars، gardens and public parks are preparing to host parties، arranged around the semi-final match against Croatia، which kicks off at 7pm BST.

About 30،000 people are expected in London’s Hyde Park alone، where a special screening has been organised.

The nation has embraced Gareth Southgate’s young team for restoring pride with England’s best World Cup run since 1990.

Before the second-round victory against Colombia، England had not won a knockout game at a major tournament since 2006، with the nadir arguably the defeat to Iceland at the European Championships just two years ago.

But now the team stand just one match away from having the chance to emulate England’s World Cup-winning team of 1966.

England mania has swept the country، with many TV presenters wearing waistcoats in homage to Southgate، who has maintained his immaculate appearance in the sweltering heat of Russia.

With talk of England’s chances dominating conversations، even politicians and royalty have got in on the act.

Prince William، the president of the FA، said: “A new generation is enjoying the magic of this World Cup run. The whole country is right behind you tonight. Come on England – it’s coming home!”

His younger brother، Prince Harry، was asked whether “football was coming home” while visiting the Irish president، Michael Higgins. He laughed as he replied: “Most definitely.”

Arriving at the Nato summit in Brussels، Theresa May said: “Good luck to the team tonight. I met the Croatian prime minister yesterday and we exchanged football shirts.

“Gareth Southgate and the boys have done a fantastic job and I’m sure that they are going to go on to do well. I just wish them all the very best of luck tonight.”

National Grid is braced for a 2،000MW-plus power surge – three times bigger than in England’s group games – as fans watching the game at home grab beers from the fridge and put on around 400،000 kettles to boil cups of tea.

Power chiefs would monitor half-time and full-time surges “second by second” and if necessary flick the switch to turn on an instant power station in north Wales dubbed Electric Mountain، they said.

England’s semi-final defeat to West Germany at the 1990 World Cup in Italy saw Britain’s record sudden power surge of 2،800MW.

Moscow police estimate between 8،000 to 10،000 England fans may arrive in their city. Supporters who have arrived without tickets face a day of haggling with black marketeers and private sellers in order to get into the Luzhniki Stadium.

Police chiefs have warned supporters in England against a repeat of the “significant disorder” that accompanied Saturday’s World Cup victory over Sweden. They said there were 387 mainly alcohol-related incidents across the country leading to 70 arrests.

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