Mixed feelings for fans as England crash out
England crashed out of the World Cup yesterday after the team lost 2-1 to Croatia.
Fans, both expatriate and Bermudian, packed bars around the City of Hamilton as England launched its bid to reach its first World Cup final in more than 50 years.
But an extra-time goal from Croatian Mario Mandzukic sealed England’s fate and propelled the European side to the final against France on Sunday.
England scored in the first few minutes of the semi-final, but Croatia pulled one back to ensure extra time.
One English resident, who asked not to be named, said: “We can have no complaints.
“I knew it was too good to be true in the first half. It just seemed too comfortable. Once Croatia scored, there was only going to be one winner.”
But he added: “I’m proud of this young team — they surpassed expectations by a long way, but they just didn’t have the quality to go all the way.”
Ben Saunders, Sports Editor of The Royal Gazette and an England fan, watched the game in a jammed Flanagan’s Outback Sports Bar on Hamilton’s Front Street. Mr Saunders said: “It was packed, raucous and good fun.
“There aren’t the recriminations there were when England lost to Croatia to miss out on qualifying for Euro 2008.
“The vast majority of fans are really proud of the way England played. Everyone’s disappointed but proud.
“Fans realise they’re a young team and there were some really good performances from a lot of young players playing at their first World Cup.
“England fans in Outback were still singing after the final whistle and that speaks volumes as to how fans see them.”
England fans packed Docksiders bar, also on Front Street, as the teams took to the field.
Tyrone Flood, 32, from Paget, said he was an on-off England supporter.
He added that reaching the semis was a standout moment for the team.
Mr Flood said: “This is the furthest we’ve made it in, what, 30-plus years?”
He added before the final whistle: “If England wins then I’ll book a flight to England.
“If they lose though, I’ll still be happy for them because this is the farthest we’ve made it in a long, long time.”
Ed Redmond said: “This World Cup is probably the best World Cup we’ve had in so many years. The underdogs and the winners have all done really well.”
The 56-year-old Paget resident added: “I’m a neutral fan because I’m Irish. My team’s not in it, so I’m just supporting football, but I’d like to see England go through and win.”
Dragan Pavkovic, 38, cut a lonely figure as the sole Croatian in the bar.
But Mr Pavkovic said: “As the only Croatian coming to a game full of English supporters, I can only hope to see them cry.
“At home, football is the most important secondary thing in your life right next to family — it’s close to a religion. You’re brought up with football.”
He added: “I’m not afraid of the English fans. My friends are English and my girlfriend’s English so I don’t feel intimidated.
“If Croatia wins I’m going to party like crazy,”
Mr Pavkovic said: “For a country of just four million people even reaching the semi-finals is a huge success, never mind the final.”
Ashton Bell, a Docksiders bartender, said the bar was a winner whoever won.
He explained staff had seen a boost in both sales and camaraderie leading up to the crunch match.
He added: “The atmosphere has a really nice vibe that brings in a lot of customers, and it does impact business in a positive manner.
“Everyone looks excited to be here and partake in watching the game as best as they can.”
Mr Bell, added that, although he was an England fan, he was happy to see people of all nationalities and walks of life enjoying games together.
He said: “The World Cup’s always been a positive vibe; you can’t get upset watching football.”
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