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World Cup defeat, and it’s time to go home…

Fans pack into the borough’s pubs to watch dramatic England match – but it all ends in tears

13 July, 2018 — By William McLennan

Lauren Corelli and Hannah Bashir-Eviston at the Tollington Arms

THE streets of Islington fell eerily quiet on Wednesday night as pubs across the borough buzzed with anticipation ahead of England’s World Cup semi-final match.

The tension erupted into jubilation, as Kieran Trippier put England ahead with a dazzling free-kick after just five minutes – cue spilled beers and impromp­tu refrains of “It’s coming home”. After all, Gareth Southgate’s men were just one step from the World Cup final and a chance to emulate the legends of 1966.

In Essex Road and Upper Street, pubs showing the match thronged with punters. Late-comers struggled to squeeze in and were left watching through windows.

England fans pray for a miracle inside the Green Man

This was a night when Arsenal and Spurs fans could be on the same team across north London; a festival too in which even those who insist they do not like the game are drawn into the rich drama of it all. It was not to be, however.

Mary Jones and Keely Birgin outside The New Rose

Instead, it was another chapter in the life of an England fan –an evening bursting with hope, belief and then a crashing comedown as the Three Lions were beaten in extra-time by Croatia.

Police had beefed up their resources with an extra unit of 24 officers on the streets and more riot-clad officers ready to be deployed if things turned ugly. While on Saturday, England supporters had caused roadblocks in Upper Street as they celebrated victory over Sweden, fans departed largely peacefully after Wednesday’s match.

What World Cup? Handful see tennis and Oz

Wimbledon is shown on the big screen in King’s Cross

WHILE pubs were filled with nervous fans, waiting to see England’s performance in the World Cup semi-final, the big screen at King’s Cross was taking movie-goers down the yellow brick road, writes Samantha Booth.

King’s Cross N1C, the private owner of the King’s Cross square, was accused of failing a “big culture test” by Councillor Paul Convery in not airing the match. Instead, a handful sat down to watch The Wizard of Oz and Wimbledon on Wednesday evening.

For the past two weeks, free films and Wimbledon matches have been shown at the canalside as part of a “Summer of Love” film festival.

One Twitter user said it was “mental” that the big match was not shown.

The Wizard Of Oz was screened during the big match

Alice Whaley tweeted: “First semi-final in 28 years, all these new public squares (apparently for the use and good of the community) and organisers decide not to show one of the biggest sporting tournaments we’re lucky to be a part of! You couldn’t make it up.”

Cllr Convery, of Caledonian ward, said: “N1C has just failed a big culture test. Illustrates how the ‘new’ King’s Cross sits uneasily with the rest of us, sometimes. And don’t forget, folks: it isn’t a ‘public’ square at all. It’s privately owned public realm.”

Other films shown this week include The Graduate, Cool Runnings and Battle of the Sexes.

A spokeswoman for King’s Cross N1C said: “We have already committed to showing Wimbledon matches, as we have done for the last five years.

“We also have the Everyman Summer Love series fully under way – a programme of films we are proud to be offering for free to the public.”

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