'Keep the dream alive': Excited fans backing England ahead of World Cup semi-final at home and in France
Video report by ITV News Correspondent Emma Murphy
A nation waits in excitement as England make their final preparations for their World Cup semi-final against reigning champions USA.
The Lionesses will be in the final of the competition for the first time if they can get past the Americans at Lyon's Groupama Stadium on Tuesday night.
England were beaten in the semi-finals of the 2015 World Cup and Euro 2017 but fans are getting behind the team to go one further this time around and “keep the dream alive”.
Beth Morrell and Ellen Bishop made the trip from Chelmsford in Essex for their first game of the tournament.
Ellen described them as "kids at Christmas" and told ITV News they have followed the Lionesses for "a long time".
She added: "I think we have got a good chance, so we are hoping for the best."
While thousands of supporters are expected to make the trip in France, many thousands more will be cheering from home.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has said Battersea Park will host a screening of the game with free entry, a bar and food for those who won’t be there for the game.
Over in Aylesbury, the letters in front of the welcome sign for the Buckinghamshire town have been changed by fans to read 'Welcome to Ellesbury', in honour of hometown hero and England striker Ellen White.
St Gregory’s Primary School in Suffolk rallied all of its pupils for a video to sing It’s Coming Home and share messages of support.
The video, shared on Twitter, has been viewed more than 14,000 times in just two hours as social media focuses on the build up to the game.
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Head teacher Daniel Woodrow said the entire school has been excited throughout the tournament following the success of the men’s team last year.
“The children are very excited about the match, it’s all they are talking about and they have bene following the team throughout,” he told ITV News.
“What’s been great is it’s not just the boys who are excited but the girls too, everyone is desperate to get home and watch it.”
Raheem Sterling, who was a key figure in the Men’s squad that reached the World Cup semi-final in 2018, urged the Lionesses to “keep believing”.
He said in a video: “I just want to wish the Lionesses a massive good luck, everyone in the country is behind you.
“You’ve been doing fantastic so far, you’re doing the country proud – just keep going and keep believing and keep the dream alive.”
Fellow England semi-finalist Alan Shearer, who got the final four in Euro 96, called in to the Lionesses Daily – a video uploaded daily following the team in France.
He congratulated the team for the tournament so far and joked that Ellen White, who has scored five goals in the competition, “must be thinking of the Golden Boot” and told her not to “tell porkies”.
But not everyone landing in France from the British Isles will be backing the Lionesses, as Scot Alex Masterton told ITV News she's come to back America.
She has supported USA "for years" and bought a semi-final ticket in the hope her team would make it that far.
With England in good form, however, she admitted she is "nervous" and unsure if it will "go to plan" for USA.
Questions were raised on Monday after an unidentified person was asked to leave the vicinity of England's training ground, which came after USA team staff were spotted at England's hotel