World Cup 2018: Fans thank England for 'making nation dream'

image sourcePA
image captionFans were emotional after the defeat but are now looking to the future

Heartbroken England fans are starting to come to terms with their World Cup exit after the defeat to Croatia.

Hopes of a first final since 1966 were dashed on Wednesday after England slipped to a 2-1 loss after extra time.

Emergency services across the nation had another busy night, particularly after the match finished.

West Midlands Ambulance Service said it faced "a barrage of 999 calls" after full-time, including reports of assaults and domestic violence.

media captionEngland fans clean up Sheffield big screen site

Police in Ipswich praised the "vast majority of the well behaved crowd" that watched the semi-final at Portman Road but criticised the fact a flare was thrown after Kieran Trippier opened the scoring.

A fan at the Devonshire Green fan zone in Sheffield questioned the event's security and claimed glass bottles and flares were thrown.

Student Josh Chapman said: "There were times you were looking out for glass bottles more than watching the game."

The city council blamed "a handful of mindless idiots" for disruption and said it was reviewing CCTV footage.

Up to 150 other fans in the Sheffield fan park showed a touch of class by helping to tidy up, despite the pain of England's defeat.

image sourceGetty Images
image captionThe disappointment was written on the faces of many watching

Grant Davidson said the side had "brought the country together" during the run to the semi-finals, the first time England had reached the last four since losing to West Germany in 1990.

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Thousands of fans gathered at major outdoor screenings for the knockout games as World Cup fever gripped the nation.

The final moments of the game were the most-watched five minutes of British TV since the 2012 Olympic opening ceremony, with 26.5 million people tuning in.

Scenes after the game were, perhaps unsurprisingly, more subdued than after the quarter-final win against Sweden.

However, one fan in Shoreditch, east London, was seen climbing a lamppost, while Avon and Somerset Constabulary said it had arrested a man for assaulting an officer and punching a police horse.

In Birmingham city centre, 16 people jumped into the canal, while a man was spotted "surfing" on top of a moving car in Solihull, according to West Midlands Ambulance Service.

image sourceSimon Hunter
image captionPeople jumped into the canal in Birmingham city centre after the full-time whistle
image sourceEPA
image captionFans in Hyde Park went through the wringer

In the aftermath of the defeat, supporters have moved to thank the team for restoring pride.

Stephen Fry was among those to take to Twitter after the match, and his message reflected the thoughts of many.

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Fans already appear to be looking to the future, with a spike in searches for Euro 2020 and the 2022 World Cup after the final whistle.

Supporters are starting to imagine what Southgate's young side might achieve...

image sourceGetty Images
image captionA sign at Nottingham railway station has high hopes for England at the 2022 World Cup

Three Lions had been the soundtrack to the summer, with supporters optimistically rejoicing in the chorus of "It's Coming Home".

Comedian David Baddiel, who recorded the track alongside Frank Skinner and the Lightning Seeds, was clearly disappointed after England's exit...

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