England are set to face off against Croatia in the team’s first semi-final in nearly 30 years.
Passengers faced three-hour queues to get through passport control at Heathrow while Border Force staff slacked off to watch the quarter-final game against Colombia.
Despite 28 immigration officers being on duty, just 11 desks were manned – half the usual number.
Heathrow chief exec John Holland-Kaye said: “The worst queuing occurred during the World Cup game when the number of desks manned dropped from typically 22 to 11 and the queue time increased to three hours.
“Given there were 28 officers on duty, this seems to be a failure of leadership.”
A Home Office spokesman said: “Every effort is made to keep delays at the border to a minimum, but we also have a duty to maintain the security of the UK border – which means checking 100% of scheduled arriving passengers.
“We are committed to ensuring that Border Force has the resources it needs to keep the UK safe and we are deploying 200 additional staff at London Heathrow over the summer.”
England play Croatia at the Luzhniki Stadium, in Moscow, at 7pm UK time.