In Summary
  • England's Jesse Lingard captured the mood of a nation barely able to contain its excitement as the World Cup semi-final against Croatia looms.
  • British Prime Minister Theresa May also sent the team a good luck message.

LONDON

"Time for Lift Off! Moscow Awaits".

England's Jesse Lingard captured the mood of a nation barely able to contain its excitement as the World Cup semi-final against Croatia looms.

An estimated 32 million people across Britain are expected to tune in at 1800 GMT on Wednesday as Gareth Southgate's team take the next step in their attempt to repeat the success of 1966.

Prince William, the president of the Football Association, issued a rallying cry as the country prepared to grind to a halt.

"The whole country is right behind you tonight. Come on England — it's coming home!"

British Prime Minister Theresa May also sent the team a good luck message.

Even if England reach Sunday's final, neither William nor Prime Minister May will attend the match because of Britain's diplomatic boycott of the tournament over a nerve agent attack in England this year.

Such is the feverish atmosphere that the system crashed when London Mayor Sadiq Khan announced 30,000 free tickets would be made available to watch the game in Hyde Park via a ballot.

Actor Hugh Grant and many others heeded the Sun newspaper's call to wear a waistcoat on #WaistcoatWednesday — following the lead of Southgate.
British Airways handed out waistcoats to passengers travelling to Moscow.

"Perhaps people feel they (waistcoats) also reflect in some way this young likeable England side: They're bold, innovative, endearing — a hark back to a more genteel, civilised era," said the Daily Mail.

"The inspiring diversity of Gareth Southgate's youthful team reflects the hopes of a nation tired of political battles and the grind of an economy spluttering badly," said the Daily Mirror.

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