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England fans outnumbered as they gather for Panama clash

Supporters arriving in Nizhny Novgorod praised the atmosphere in the city.

A view of Nizhny Novgorod Stadium in Nizhny Novgorod (Aaron Chown/PA)
A view of Nizhny Novgorod Stadium in Nizhny Novgorod (Aaron Chown/PA)

Early arrivals in Nizhny Novgorod for England’s second World Cup group game have expressed their disappointment at low supporter numbers.

Three Lions fans have not travelled in the same volume as in previous tournaments, amid concerns over hooliganism and political tensions with Russia.

There was a carnival atmosphere in central Nizhny on Friday, with many Argentina, Colombia and Panama fans mixing together in the city.

But England fans were hard to come by just two days before the national team take on Panama on Sunday.

Jamie Vardy plays pool in Repino (PA Video/PA)

Barney Mcquade, 21, from Heaton in Newcastle, was in the Fifa fan fest with a friend, Kieron Harper, a West Brom fan from Birmingham.

Mr Mcquade, who had travelled out for the second group game, said it was “disappointing” many decided to stay at home.

He said: “There’s been a few but compared to Argentina, there’s thousands of them, it’s embarrassing.”

Asked why he thought fans would not travel, he added: “It’s the media, they say everyone is going to be horrible to you and try to fight you.”

Mr Harper added: “You can wear your colours over here and everything.”

The 25-year-old said he was impressed with Nizhny’s architecture.

“It looks mint,” he said.

“I was expecting communist flats and high rises but it’s just beautiful old buildings.”

England’s Kieran Trippier tries his hand at darts (Owen Humphreys/PA)

The pair said they hoped for an easy England win on Sunday and believed the Three Lions could win the coveted trophy.

“Of course, no one else has shown anything,” Mr Harper said.

Mr Mcquade added: “Brazil are pants, Germany are pants, it’s open.”

Mike Theo travelled to Russia solo because his son needed to sit exams.

The 50-year-old, of the Cottrells, in Worthing, West Sussex, said of England fans: “They’re around somewhere, in the bars, in the corners keeping a low profile.

“Obviously because of the Euros and similar threats that have been made.”

The Brighton and Hove Albion fan said he had had an “absolutely fantastic” time in Russia and had made several good friends as he took in matches including Germany’s surprise defeat to Mexico.

Press Association

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