Fans hail ‘fantastic start’ but urge caution as England lead

·2-min read

England fans, many old enough to remember every one of the 55 years of “hurt”, hailed a “fantastic start” to the Euro 2020 final as they went into half time.

Supporters across the country have gathered inside pubs and outside in the streets to watch the Three Lions take on Italy.

Luke Shaw’s stunning strike just two minutes into the match prompted chaos at a street party in Ashton-in-Makerfield, near Wigan.

Fans watching Italy v England
An England fan at BOXPARK Croydon watches the final (Ashley Western/PA)

Young and old had only just settled down, amid chants of Football’s Coming Home, when the Manchester United defender slotted home.

Mother-of-two Camilla Thomas, 38, said: “What a fantastic start to the game for us – it’s a game-changer.

“It just makes you more nervous getting the early lead, because you are scared the Italians will really go for it to equalise.”

Jacqui Stanley, 58, from Liverpool, said: “I don’t follow football really but that was a screamer.”

In Oxford Circus, central London, there were cheers and screams as England took the early lead, while fans in Trafalgar Square exploded with joy.

Fans watching Italy v England
England fans at the fan zone in Trafford Park, Manchester (Martin Rickett/PA)

James Caldon, 34, from Plumstead, south London, said: “Wow, what a start, we needed that.

“Luke Shaw deserves a knighthood.”

Some people were watching the game on their phones in the street, and the singing of the Three Lions anthem could be heard up and down Oxford Street.

England fans at Birmingham’s Luna Springs outdoor venue, many wearing ponchos amid light rain, greeted Shaw’s early opener with unbridled joy, throwing beer into the air and letting off a red flare.

Fans watching Italy v England
England fans on the Kirby Estate, in Bermondsey, south London, react after Luke Shaw scores the first goal (Victoria Jones/PA)

But some of the crowd of about 500 fans watching the action on a big screen sounded a note of caution after the goal, with one describing England’s early advantage as something to build on.

Another supporter, dressed in a chainmail St George costume, said: “One nil is decent.

“I don’t want to knock it, but we were 1-0 up against Croatia early on in the World Cup semi and we all know what happened there.”

Croatia came back to beat England in the semi-final.

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