THERE were highs and lows as England bowed out of the World Cup Semi Finals.

The Three Lions took on Croatia in Moscow and the dream of football coming home was nearly realised after a perfect free kick by right back Keiran Trippier.

It sent the 3,000 supporters at the Luna Beach in Brighton into raptures after just five minutes of the game.

But the dream slipped away.

Croatia dominated the second half, and scored an equaliser, before notching a second in extra time.

The Argus was on hand to speak with fans watching at the beach, and there was the usual mix of sadness and disappointment, but also pride.

England fans jumped for joy after the first goal.

Ricky Perrin, who lives at the marina, watched with pal Tony Shepherd. He said: “I was really pleased to be down at Luna Beach because of the atmosphere. The organisers were really good for my wheelchair access, so I couldn’t have been happier to be here.

“England did really well, you can’t knock them for the job they have done. It was really disappointing that they haven’t gone through.”

Jo Bridges, who travelled from Saltdean, said: “I was nervous, and was hoping that Croatia would be knackered.

"When we scored I was jumping up and down. When we lost it was disappointing that they didn’t go through.

“But it has been a really positive World Cup for us, especially compared to the last few.

“Overall we should be content, I’m happy with how far we have got, it’s the furthest for more than 20 years. But it’s so disappointing to lose.

“It has had a massive impact on the country, especially with the Brexit stuff going on. This is what we needed, something to cheer us all up a bit.”

Nathan Cole and Olly James were down at the beach from their local, the Ladies Mile in Patcham.

They were both confident, especially after previous results. Olly even predicted that Trippier would score the first goal.

He said: “There was a great vibe with everyone here, loving it. Even though we’ve gone out, we’ve exceeded our expectations.

Nathan said: “It’s been a great World Cup, I didn’t expect us to get this far.”

Brighton fans were hoping that football would come home.

Alan Trussler from Worthing said he was not old enough to remember Italia 90, when England last performed at a World Cup Semi Final.

He said: “I’m gutted but they have done so well. I thought they would only get to the Quarter Final, so to have been on the brink is amazing.”

l See pages 37 - 43 for more pictures