Jubilant supporters cherish England quarter-final victory
Fan zones went wild as the Three Lions secured a 2-0 win.
Buoyant England fans are expected to party long into the night after roaring the Three Lions to World Cup quarter-final victory against Sweden.
Supporters decorated with replica shirts from previous tournaments packed out pubs, while others jostled for space in fan zones across the country as goals from Harry Maguire and Dele Alli sealed England’s passage to the semi-finals for the first time since 1990.
Former EastEnders hard man Ross Kemp captured the mood of the nation during the match when he recreated his impassioned topless monologue from earlier in the week to mark England going ahead against Sweden.
He said: “Yes! Now we hold, we do not give in, we do not allow them to score.”
Such was the interest in the World Cup that a steady stream of Wimbledon spectators were seen leaving the All England Club ahead of the game, with many saying they would return after the football.
There were chants of “easy, easy, easy” in the Rose and Crown pub in Wimbledon as the final whistle was blown.
A steady flow of fans then flocked back down the hill from Wimbledon village to the All England Club.
And as expected, the roads were consequently relatively quiet, with snapshot images from the M5 – the gateway to the south west – showing much lighter traffic during the match compared with before England kicked off.
Some dedicated fans even made last-minute adjustments to their own wedding day, with one couple in Doncaster installing a large television so guests could toast the real match of the day.
Married Nadine and Lee Hanlon arranged to watch the match with their guests before the wedding breakfast.
Supporters slapped the sunscreen on and sought out giant screens to watch the game communally, while others contented themselves with a spot on the sofa in readiness.
On streets across the land, St George’s flags and bunting fluttered in the breeze, while chants of “three lions on a shirt” could be heard at regular intervals.
Comedian Frank Skinner, one of those responsible for the song which has been reprised this year as the unofficial anthem of the England football team, was among those demonstrating his excitement – uploading a video of himself dancing to the track with his shirt over his head.
Former England captain David Beckham shared the optimistic mood of the nation with his own message to supporters.
David Beckham knows it’s coming home 🏴 pic.twitter.com/t2yVvZfJfy— Soccer AM (@SoccerAM) July 7, 2018
He said simply: “It’s coming home. It’s coming home.”
Not everyone was convinced though, including former Oasis frontman Noel Gallagher.
He responded to his audience bellowing the popular refrain in typically dry fashion, telling them: “It’s f****** not.”
Elsewhere the expectation of an England quarter-final victory mixed with scorching temperatures in the high 20s as supporters clamoured for a spot underneath the huge screen on Brighton Beach.
Brighton is packed, rammed full of people in England shirts. The City is buzzing, amazing what football can do. Cancel any plans and GET BEHIND THE BOYS. #ENGSWE— Charlie Palethorpe (@ChazPalethorpe) July 7, 2018
Others, it seems, already have half an eye on the next round and beyond.
British Airways reported a surge in patriotic fans desperate to get to Russia to cheer on Gareth Southgate and his lions in person.
Searches on ba.com for flights to the host nation have increased 700% since the tense penalty shootout against Colombia on Tuesday.