ENGLAND fans launched into a massive World Cup party last night — but ended up drowning their misery as France emerged triumphant.
There were despairing scenes as Gareth Southgate’s side crashed out of the competition against the defending champions.
Punters had packed 30,000 pubs across the country and spent £350million during the quarter-final match, according to research firm GlobalData.
Pubs and clubs threw open their doors for the knockout game as beer sales rocketed by 50 per cent on boozers’ busiest day since December 2019 — before the Covid pandemic.
Some 23 million tuned in to watch England’s showdown with Didier Deschamps’ France side — the biggest TV sports audience since last year’s Euro 2020 final, which saw 31 million see the Three Lions lose to Italy on penalties.
The British Beer and Pub Association said the 7pm kick-off encouraged punters to fill up their locals earlier and stay for longer.
The surge in pub sales came despite a “big freeze” triggering the RAC to tell fans to avoid roads and walk to their local instead.
Meanwhile, thousands of supporters flooded special screenings of the game across the country.
But one bar in Birmingham was mocked online after blowing up red, white and blue balloons for the event — the shades of the French tricolour flag.
England fan Harry Barnes said: “Walkabout in Birmingham bringing out balloons in the French colours saying ‘it’s the Union Jack’.
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“It’s like the staff didn’t realise it was England playing, not the UK.”
Former Three Lions stars Teddy Sheringham, 56, and David Seaman, 59, were among guests at fanzones, with supporters belting out karaoke hits such as Gala’s Freed From Desire before kick-off.
Some 7,000 packed Manchester’s sold-out Road to Victory fanzone, while 2,000 fans flocked to Boxpark in Wembley, West London.
Over 1,300 supporters in Newcastle queued for hours in freezing conditions after gathering as early as 1pm, six hours before the game.
Fanzone manager Tom Brodie, 28, said: “We ordered in extra beer especially for the game. Most of it has been spilled on the floor. We’d already sold more than 3,000 pints before the game had even started.
“There’s been a party atmosphere all day in here. The only downside is that all of our England flags have been nicked!”
Pints finally flew as captain Harry Kane smashed home a thunderous penalty in the 54th minute.
The goal made Kane all-time top England goal scorer with Wayne Rooney — tied on 53 goals.
But he could not repeat the effort, missing a second penalty and leaving even former England captain David Beckham looking dejected in the stands.
Wags including Kyle Walker’s girlfriend Annie Kilner — all wearing England shirts to cheer on their lads — could not hide their disappointment.
But Paris erupted with joy last night as crowds celebrated the victory against England.
Renditions of the national anthem, La Marseillaise, and Allez Les Bleus, could be heard across the freezing cold streets of the capital.
Caroline Milou, 30, had tears of joy streaming down her cheeks, marked with the red, white and blue of the tricolour.
She said: “If we beat England, we win the cup. We love Britain, but this is our night!”
Caroline was celebrating in the Frog & Rosbif pub, which was packed with around 300 fans of both countries during the game.
Luc Roncayloco, 21, said: “It was our night! I am so happy. Mbappe was superb, but so was Giroud. It was a great performance.”
England fan Autumn Lumb, 26, was in the pub with an England flag draped around her.
She could not hide her disappointment and said: “I knew as soon as Kane stepped up for the penalty he was going to miss.”
George Pittard, 26, from London, said: “It’s really disappointing but expected. Kane scored one, but then missed — it’s Spurs isn’t it.”
Meanwhile, hundreds of French fans swarmed central London to cheer on Les Bleus using an app called Frogs in London.
The lifestyle app hosted a special screening at Zoo Bar in Leicester Square, which was “taken over” by more than 700 French expats.
Tricolours were draped over the walls while boozy punters dined on French food and drink.
Yohann Proveur, 29, who lives in South Kensington, said: “I live in England and have English friends, but I must be fully French today.”
One England fan seen walking past a venue full of French supporters warned: “We’re going to batter you.”
But it was not to be.
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