World Cup 2018: England fans delight at reaching semi-finals

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image captionFull time at a balmy Brighton beach was greeted with delirium

The country is celebrating after England beat Sweden 2-0 to win a place in the World Cup semi-finals.

Pubs were packed, barbecues were burning and towns were tense as millions watched the game.

With the country basking in a heatwave, hundreds of thousands of fans watched on big screens at events up and down the country.

Our reporters have been out and about to capture a nation gripped by World Cup fever.

image copyrightPhilip Toscano
image captionAn early miss caused much head-clutching at the Rose & Crown in Wimbledon

Harry Maguire's opening goal sent them bonkers on Brighton beach.

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And they went batty in Bristol...

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image captionThere was plenty of beer flinging in Bristol when Maguire headed in

There was more of the same in Croydon where hundreds packed in the Boxpark.

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Meanwhile, in Stockport.....

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Down the road in Manchester, these two tried their best to get everyone to join in...

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image captionThe locals at the Lord Stamford tried their best to engender World Cup fever

Bride and groom Harriot Bland and Karl McNally, from Sheffield, had to change their wedding plans because Harriot didn't want the match "to ruin" her big day.

A TV screen was set up for the guests and she left the speeches, cake cutting and first dance until after the game - she was thankful it didn't go into extra time.

image captionThe marquee while the TV was on

When it was all done there was one very happy bridegroom. He said: "It's the best thing ever - England scoring a goal on my wedding day in the World Cup quarter-final and winning. Amazing."

At another wedding, there was an unusual means of keeping the guests updated in church.

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There was huge relief when Dele Alli added a second to give England a two-goal cushion.

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image copyrightReuters
image captionDele Alli's goal sent these fans at Flat Iron Square in London ecstatic

And it set them off in Norfolk too.

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But England's second stunned the ex-pat Swedes in west London.

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The goal also went down well at the General Synod, where the Bishop of Willesden was heard to shout out "Close him down!"

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image captionPre-match superstitions can be strange

Where better to watch the game than at the local of England's goal hero Harry Maguire?

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But it wasn't such fun for these Swedes.

image captionIt was glum faces all round for these luckless Swedes in London

At the final whistle there were celebrations in Birmingham (did I just see the Queen?)

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Families and friends shared in the joy of England reaching the World Cup semi-finals for the first time in almost 30 years. Mark Austin, from Shrewsbury, said: "I remember 1990 well and this is on a par, maybe better than that; this time feels different.

"This is a once-in-a-generation thing. I've told my children they'll remember this for the rest of their lives."

image captionMark Austin (left) is now convinced England's name is on the trophy

The growing sense of optimism was shared by Maxime Rowe, from London, who said: "I've waited a lifetime for this... they're a young team and they've proved their worth already so good luck, their future's going to look amazing."

Amanda Eddridge, from Hassocks in Sussex added: "It's been a long time coming. We've been waiting for it to go wrong but I believe in them. They're going to do it!"

image captionMaxime Rowe (in black) and Amanda Eddridge believe England can do it

There was even a royal seal of approval at the result as the Duke of Cambridge tweeted his appreciation.

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There was also this magnanimous message from the Swedish Ambassador to the UK.

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After all the tension, stress and excitement, how about a calming recital of Three Lions to bring us all back down to earth?

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