Harry Kane: Watching the Lionesses lift trophy is inspiring us to do it too

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

England captain Harry Kane hopes the Lionesses’ Euros victory will be the “special moment” to motivate his team — as the Three Lions prepare to take on the United States at the World Cup.

Tottenham striker Kane joined sporting stars, politicians and fans urging the nation to get behind the Three Lions just like they did for the women who beat Germany at Wembley in the summer.

More than 12 million TV viewers are set to tune in for Friday night’s game, which kicks off at 7pm, with millions more packing into pubs and other venues.

It is the team’s second match in the tournament after their 6-2 victory over Iran on Monday.

Pubs in London expect to sell an extra 800,000 pints this evening as World Cup fever boosts average monthly takings by 10 per cent, according to the British Beer and Pub Association.

Harry Kane and Kieran Trippier training on Thursday (Javier Garcia/Shutterstock)
Harry Kane and Kieran Trippier training on Thursday (Javier Garcia/Shutterstock)

Kane told the Standard: “I think the way the country got behind the Lionesses to watch them win the Euros at Wembley was a special moment for our country and I think for the men’s team it just gives us more motivation to be able to achieve that ourselves.

“Watching them lift the trophy and be successful, it makes us want to do that same.

“Obviously, we know the country will be fully behind us and we hope we can repay them with another trophy.”

Former England star Stuart Pearce said he had “no doubt in his mind” that Gareth Southgate’s team can lift the World Cup.

The defender, who was in England’s Euro 1996 squad with Southgate, said: “The team look as if they’re really proud to play for their country. I’m expecting big performances from Declan Rice, Jude Bellingham and Bukayo Saka. I think we’ve got some brilliant young talent. I just hope Harry Kane gets the goals and leads the Lions like we know he can.”

England fans in the fan zone ahead of Friday evening’s game against USA (Anthony France)
England fans in the fan zone ahead of Friday evening’s game against USA (Anthony France)

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also plans to watch the game. Sports minister Stuart Andrew said that while he was born in Wales he had lived in England for over 20 years. “I’m in a very good position! I’m thrilled Wales are there, for the first time since 1964, but of course I want to support England too. I obviously want both home nations to progress and to do the very best they can,” he added.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said: “Gareth Southgate’s team have started with a bang — long may it continue. Although tonight’s game will be against tougher opposition in the USA, I expect the Three Lions to get the win. I’ll be looking out for Bukayo Saka to continue his fine form into tonight’s game.”

English supporters have been barred from going to the match at Qatar’s Al Bayt Stadium while dressed as crusaders. Fifa said that the costumes can be offensive to people in the Muslim-majority emirate.

However, Fifa has given the go-ahead for fans to wear rainbow-coloured clothing after the first week of the tournament was marred by its handling of LGBTQ+ symbols. Southgate has not ruled out making a gesture before tonight’s game to highlight human rights concerns, but said England will not be pressured into doing so.

England fans in Qatar today said they were enjoying the experience despite the controversies. Dan Lord, 34, of Chichester, said: “Saka is flying. I think we’ve had a good start to the tournament.” Content creator Cameron Mitchell, 28, flew in from south London and spent the afternoon practising keepie uppies with Argentinians and Brazilians at the Fifa Fan Festival. He said: “The atmosphere is building up now for the greatest football show on Earth. I can hardly believe I’ll be part of it.”

Jim Treherne, 42, who has flown to Qatar with his 14-year-old son Freddie from Royal Wootton Bassett, Wilshire, said: “It’s like a dream come true and I’m here with my boy.”

Another father and son were John Bull, 67, and Chris, 40, from Flitwick, who declared it was a “no-brainer coming out to support” Southgate’s team.