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England will stand still as 30 million football fans are expected to tune in for the big match against Croatia

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 11-07-2018 Cheyenne Roundtree
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(Video provided by AFP)

The country will come to a raucous standstill tonight as up to 30million people tune in to watch Harry Kane's heroes take on Croatia in the World Cup semi-final.

Another 10,000 England fans will descend on Moscow hoping to get into the sold-out Luzhniki Stadium for the 7pm kick-off.

Many have turned to the black market to try to get tickets for England's first semi-final in 28 years.

Harry Kane of England during the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier between England and Slovakia at Wembley Stadium on September 4, 2017 in London, England. © Getty Harry Kane of England during the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier between England and Slovakia at Wembley Stadium on September 4, 2017 in London, England.

If they win, England will play in the World Cup final against France on Sunday.

Last night touts were operating outside the Fifa ticketing centre near Dobryninskaya Metro station.

In desperation, some fans walked around Red Square wearing placards pleading for entry to the match.S

Slideshow - Croatia v England: Five previous meetings (Read Sport)

Patrick James, 26, from Welling, Kent, arrived in Moscow on Monday. Within hours he had turned to a World Cup Facebook page which saw those keen to get rid of tickets offering them to the highest bidders.

He said: 'Basically, I went on the site and within an hour I had about 15 people – a lot of them Russians – offering category one and two tickets which cost between £200 and £330 for the semi-final for twice that amount.

'In the end I have agreed a £500 price with a guy I am going to meet four hours before the kick-off near the stadium.

a group of people standing in front of a crowd: Another 10,000 England fans will descend on Moscow hoping to get into the sold-out Luzhniki Stadium for the 7pm kick-off. © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Another 10,000 England fans will descend on Moscow hoping to get into the sold-out Luzhniki Stadium for the 7pm kick-off.

'He is a Russian fan and obviously disappointed his team went out of the competition. But for me this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I don't want to miss it.'

Another England fan, who gave his name only as George from Doncaster, was haggling with touts and individual fans selling tickets to try and get one below face value.

He said he had three friends coming who would also need tickets. He was offered category one tickets for $900 (£678) and category two tickets for $650 (£490) by a tout called Frank, who said he had seven tickets for sale and could not drop his prices because they were set by his 'boss'. Mark Roberts, of the National Police Chiefs' Council, said: 'We're estimating eight to 10,000 [England fans].'

England's Harry Kane signs autographs during training © Reuters England's Harry Kane signs autographs during training

Asked how many might be ticketless, he said: 'It's difficult to judge, we know from the ticket sales we can probably reasonably expect through official channels about half that number to get tickets. Hopefully they can enjoy the atmosphere in the fan fest.'

Back home England's 40,000 pubs will be packed. The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) predicts ten million extra pints will be served during the match, delivering a boost to the national economy of up to £30million.

'It's fantastic news for both English football and the Great British pub,' BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds said.

England fans celebrate in the stands © Getty England fans celebrate in the stands

As in previous games, thousands of fans will watch the game on big screens across the country including in Hyde Park, London and venues in Manchester, Bristol and Liverpool.

Last night a spokesman for media analysts Kantar Media said: 'There will be an increased audience due to patriotism and pride. Children will be allowed to stay up late, with whole families gathered around TVs for a national event.' A spokesman for the Broadcasters' Audience Research Board (BARB) added: 'Previous tournaments have shown the size of TV audiences England games can achieve. Evenings are prime time. Average audience ratings are for TV sets only and do not include big screens and pubs.' 

a group of people standing in front of a crowd: The country will come to a raucous standstill tonight as up to 30million people tune in to watch Harry Kane’s heroes take on Croatia in the World Cup semi-final. © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The country will come to a raucous standstill tonight as up to 30million people tune in to watch Harry Kane’s heroes take on Croatia in the World Cup semi-final.

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