France were likely happy with the way Wednesday's semi-final unfolded. If they lose, they at least can take pride in making it farther along in the tournament than their country has been for multiple decades.
England were knocked out of the World Cup on Thursday morning (AEST) after a 2-1 semi-final loss to Croatia, one game short of securing a historic berth in the tournament final.
Private jets and charter planes were hired, the gloriously ornate corridors and giant escalators of this city's famous Metro system were suddenly filled with familiar songs and England's white shirts.
"But I also don't want to miss England in the World Cup final", said David, a 42-year-old from Leeds.
The Croatians had enough left in the tank to put away England, but France have been the strongest team in the tournament.
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Over the years, other relatively small nations to have punched above their weight by reaching the final include Sweden, Hungary and the Netherlands - all of whom fell at the final hurdle.
The Three Lions once again scored from a dead ball situation, their eighth set-piece goal of this World Cup. Now is the time to be strong as a group and take the time to reflect on the performance a little bit more over the next couple of days. The players and all of the staff, they have to be proud.
For England, this was so much better than anyone could have possibly expected.
And, despite the cruel ending, history was made. They won a knockout game for the first time since 2006. They reached the World Cup semi-final for the first time since Italia 90.
England must now rouse themselves for the finale of the third-placed play-off against Belgium in St Petersburg on Saturday. Nobody wanted to give in.