‘Absolutely heartbreaking’ - Norfolk fans react as England knocked out of the World Cup
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2018
It was a devastating end to England's World Cup campaign - but pride in our national team stood strong.
Three Lions fans faced agony as, after an initially promising start, they watched their World Cup dream slip through their fingers.
After a stunning goal from Trippier five minutes in to the game and a promising first half, hopes were high.
At half time, England fans at the Gallery Bistro, in Fakenham, said how surreal it was for England to be playing so well in tournament football.
They were among thousands of people watching in packed pubs, bars and venues around the county, hoping to celebrate England making their way to a final in the company of others.
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But after an equaliser in the 68th minute and another in the 109th, hope started to fade.
At Open in Norwich, England fans held their head in their hands but they were far from defeated.
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Matthew Northcott, 26: 'It is absolutely heartbreaking. But if someone said to me a month ago we would be in the semi-final I would have taken it.
'In this moment of massive disappointment we have to draw a positive. The team is still so young so let's roll on the Euros and the next World Cup and see how the team develops. We have modernised the way we play - there is no doubt about that.
'Every single one of those lads were playing for the shirt. It is disappointing but we have to still consider this World Cup a success. It's not the end of the world and we should be proud of how they have done.
'There are no easy games at this level and mistakes were going to be made.'
Kano Earl, 25, who was also in Norwich, said: 'It is just devastating. Everyone had belief - then when we got Croatia in the semis everyone expected us to get to the finals.
'They have been amazing and I can't complain at all. Nobody expected us to get this far. If you look at the bigger picture we have been playing really well throughout. I think today came down to nerves. We had chances to finish it but it didn't happen.'
There was a sense of disappointment in the Kings Arms in Great Yarmouth, with roughly 300 people watching on as England battled for a spot in the final.
Tom Wetton, 32, was deflated but proud. He said 'I am devastated we have gone out but proud and optimistic for the future.'
Rachel Rundle, 33, also in Great Yarmouth, said she thought Jordan Pickford was fabulous and added she was delighted how much this has brought people together.
'Although we maybe playing for third place communities have come together because of this,' she said.
While optimism in the match waned, pride in England did not - as the game came to a close at Open, a rousing chorus of English 'Til I Die went around the venue, while fans watching at the Railway Tavern in Dereham applauded the team as it came to a close.
At the Norman Warrior in Lowestoft there was an overwhelming feeling of what might have been.
But landlord Shaun Waters said he was looking to the future with optimism.
'The team had the whole country behind them but just fell short in the end,' he said.
'I can't wait for the Euros in two years' time because I really do think we're going to go and win it. Players like Pickford, Trippier and Maguire have been outstanding.'
At the Ancient Mariner, in Old Hunstanton, Declan Basley said: 'We were OK for 75 minutes then the concentration lapsed. It was a case of trying to keep the ball but the concentration lapsed and it was a lousy goal. It was the second goal that killed us.'
Another regular said: 'Disappointed? I'm really disappointed. We managed it for 60 minutes then we just lost it.'
Johnathan Goward, 32, from Fakenham, said: 'It's been a great tournament but a disappointing end to go out that way and England just weren't good enough tonight.'