‘Le Crunch’ awaits! England fans scramble to book last-minute spots in pubs for tomorrow’s World Cup clash with drinkers expected to buy 28m pints – as Three Lions and France fans arrange 7-a-side showdown in Qatar before the game
- Football fans are expected to neck a whopping 100 million pints this weekend
- Saturday will see 28 million pints poured at pubs in a huge day for British boozers
- But football fans face a mad dash to find pubs that aren’t already fully booked
England fans are desperately scrambling to book last-minute spots at boozers across the UK to watch Saturday’s World Cup clash between the Three Lions and France.
Millions are expected to tune in to cheer on Gareth Southgate’s men as they take on current champions, Les Bleus, in Doha to claim a semi-final place.
Punters are expected to pack into pubs nationwide, with fans sinking close to 100 million pints over the weekend, with the action beginning from tonight.
And pub bosses are praying for England to reach the final four, as they brace themselves for their busiest night in four years.
Some venues are already fully booked, with tickets for TalkSport’s Fan Zone event in London on Saturday night already sold out.
England fans are expected to down about 28 million pints in pubs on Saturday as they watch the Three Lions take on France. Pictured: fans in Croydon’s Boxpark throw their beers in the air during England’s clash with Senegal
England fans are hoping for a victory against France on Saturday as the Three Lions take on Les Bleus in the quarter finals of the World Cup. Pictured: England supporters at Boxpark Fanzone in Croydon on December 4
France supporter Julien Abbassi, from Paris, wearing a hat with a plastic baguette on it in Qatar
With the tournament kicking off again today, bars are anticipated to serve more than 17 million pints to punters watching the first two quarter-finals, with Argentina playing Holland and Brazil going against Crotia.
But this figure will be eclipsed on Saturday with fans necking 28 million pints to cheer on the Three Lions in ‘Le Crunch’ match – six million more than when England stormed to victory against Senegal last week.
While those at watching the match from home are anticipated to sink at least 50 million pints, according to analysts, with a further 12 million being served at bars on Sunday.
Emma McClarkin, of the British Beer and Pub Association, said the night would be vital for UK boozers. ‘This match’s Saturday-night slot will hopefully deliver good trade for pubs, with people able to head to their local early to secure a spot and cheer on the Three Lions,’ she added.
‘Pubs need this as they continue to weather what was already set to be a difficult winter, with rising energy costs and the cost of living crisis and their outlook further dampened by news of rail strikes over the usually busy festive period.
‘Whilst the tournament won’t be able to make up for an extremely difficult trading environment, we’re hoping it will at least provide some short-term uplift to the industry and continue to lift the spirits of the nation.’
French fans are equally as confident their side, the current champions, will romp to victory during ‘Le Crunch’. Pictured: French supporters celebrating in Doha on November 16
England fans gather at the fans zone at Central Park Newcastle to watch the Three Lions take on Senegal in the second round of the 2022 World Cup
Football lovers are expected to neck about 100 million pints over the weekend. Pictured: (Left to right) Blair Paine, Luke Streeter and Glenn Fisk are preparing for tonight’s match vs Senegal at a pub in Croydon
England fans at BOXPARK Wembley in London, watch a screening of the FIFA World Cup 2022 Round of Sixteen match between England and Senegal
England Supporters at Box Park Croydon pile in to watch England vs Senegal in the last 16 knockout stage of the FIFA World Cup which is taking place in Doha, Qatar
England fan Colin Evans poses with pooch Remus at the Grant Ames Pub in Birmingham
England fans in Leeds wear festive outfits and hold the flag the night before England’s game with Senegal on Sunday
And as anticipation levels reach boiling point, both English and French supporters say they are feeling confident of glory as they prepare for the World Cup quarter-final showdown.
The two giants of European football will meet at the Al Bayt Stadium, with Morocco or Portugal facing the winner in the semi-finals on December 14. Kick-off is at 7pm.
England will be hoping to land an early blow on Saturday morning when their supporters’ team play a seven-a-side game against their French counterparts.
But France manager Didier Deschamps has started the mind games with England, one day before their huge World Cup quarter-final clash.
During his pre-match press conference, Deschamps put the pressure on England as he insisted they had ‘no weaknesses’ within their squad, while commenting France would have to ‘identify’ where they can hurt the Three Lions.
That hasn’t shaken the confidence of England fans though. Andrew Whittaker, 30, who lives in Doha by way of Liverpool, said he has a ‘funny feeling’ the Three Lions would romp to an historic win.
The claims and cost consultant said: ‘I think they will do well against France, I’ve got a funny feeling.
‘It’s the first test. They’ve always played lesser teams and done well and when it’s come to the big game they’ve always fallen a bit short.
‘So hopefully this time around it’s third time lucky.’
England fans Tom Egerton (left) and Tom King (right), at the Cabana Hop Garden in Doha
Saint George’s Cross flags on display at the Kirby Estate, Bermondsey, ahead of the England vs Senegal football World Cup Clash
England fans line the streets in the Souq area of Doha ahead of tonight’s match with Senegal
Mr Whittaker described Mbappe as ‘unbelievable’, adding: ‘I was thinking (Karim) Benzema being injured might help us but Giroud is still banging them in.’
Land buyer Elliot Carty, 28, from Bristol, said England have started to ‘show their quality’ in the games against Wales and Senegal.
He added: ‘I think a lot of people were a bit worried about France but I’m not worried.
‘They’ve got Mbappe, that’s their one star man, but if you look at the other areas, our team is stronger.’
Mr Carty, who returned home ahead of the quarter-finals but has flights booked to fly out for the final, said he expects a ‘tight’ game but predicted an England win.
Bookies are less supportive, predicting England will have their work cut out to beat Didier Deschamps’ side, with France are 7/5 to win, with England at 2/1.
France supporter Julien Abbassi, from Paris, was spotted in Doha wearing a hat with a plastic baguette attached to it.
He said he felt confident ahead of the quarter-final tie and showed off his France flag containing three stars – two for the World Cups that Les Bleus have already won, and one in anticipation of victory in Qatar.
The 40-year-old, who runs his own company, told the PA news agency: ‘Every World Cup, I’ve done three already, I like to have a new kind of costume every time, so I’ve got the baguette and I’ve got this third star already.’
Asked for his prediction for Saturday, Mr Abbassi joked: ‘You want my reason or my heart?
High spirits: England fans show their support of Gareth Southgate’s side on December 4 during the Three Lions’ victory over Senegal
Three Lions – literally. England fans pictured in fancy dress during last week’s game against Senegal on December 4
(L-R): England fans Vicky Armitage, Nicki Capacci, Nikki Wilson, Clare Shephard, Steve Armitage, Rob Capacci and Andy Shephard, at The Wellington in Waterloo, London
‘My real feeling is I definitely respect England because you’ve got a good squad, score a lot of goals, but I think we are a good team, we’ve got experience, our coach knows how to deal with this kind of squad.
‘For example, (Olivier) Giroud played in England, (Kylian) Mbappe already faced Kyle Walker, so I think we’re ready for this game, I’m confident.’
The England Supporters’ Travel Club received 2,005 applications for quarter-final tickets out of an allocation of 3,509 ahead of the tournament, according to the FA.
Supporter numbers have been bolstered by people already living in the region while others have stayed in Dubai and used shuttle flights on match days.
There were reports of France supporters boycotting the World Cup due to concerns over Qatar’s record on human rights, although the country’s ambassador to Doha insisted 10,000 fans registered for visas ahead of the tournament.
Back in London, hundreds of French football fans living in the UK are to descend on the capital to watch the historic clash with old enemies, England.
Pubs across the capital will be filled with expats from France during Saturday’s match between Les Bleus and the Three Lions.
Around 700 will attend a screening at Zoo Bar & Club in Leicester Square, hosted by the founders of the Frogs in London app, with supporters expecting a ‘very intense’ atmosphere.
England fans in the Souq area of Doha, ahead of the FIFA World Cup Round of Sixteen match between England and Senegal
England fans with a Stockport County flag, in the Souq area of Doha,
At Rossiter’s Organic Butchers in Birmingham, punters were lining up to buy special Bellingham bangers — named after the England prodigy, 19
Blues fan Steve, 55, said: ‘Everyone loves the Bellingham bangers — except for the Aston Villa fans. The sausages have a peppery kick to them — and we hope Jude will be peppering the Senegalese goal’
Organiser Tim Helmstetter said: ‘On Saturday we’re going to open our doors an hour and a half before the game, we’re going to sell all of our 700 tickets for sure.
‘It’s going to be mostly French people, we’ve got screens, projectors, French music and drinks.
‘Everybody’s confident because we’ve got a really good team this year, but we are still scared because in this World Cup you never know.
‘I think we’ve got a better team than England, but they are playing really well too – I spoke with some English people and I think they are more scared about the game.’
The group, which hosted a screening for the 2018 World Cup final, which France won, said 4,000 French people celebrated in Piccadilly Circus for hours after the match.
However, Mr Helmstetter said he does not want fans to congregate there if France win on Saturday, to avoid upsetting England supporters.
He went on: ‘We feel like we’re English citizens now, we’re excited but we didn’t want this game.
‘Hopefully we will win but even if England win we’ll still be happy.’
Yann Coiet, a 27-year-old baker who lives near Liverpool Street, who is attending the screening with friends, said: ‘Watching in London will be very intense, I’ve lived here for three years now and we’re very excited for this game.
An England supporter holds a cardboard cutout representing former England player Paul Scholes ahead of the start of the Qatar 2022 World Cup round of 16 football match between England and Senegal at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor
This young England fan is pictured at the Al Bayt Stadium on December 04, 2022 in Al Khor, Qatar
‘I’ve started with my English co-workers already, joking this week, telling them that Senegal will beat them up, now I’m joking that Mbappe versus Maguire will be funny to see.
‘Honestly it will be our most difficult game of this World Cup, England have a great team with great young players.
‘Actually I’m a bit scared of Bellingham and Foden, but the good thing I think is that England doesn’t have the same experience in big games.
‘The fact Kane is still trophyless is a joke, he deserves it but it would be great for us if he misses some on Saturday.
‘But with Mbappe and Griezmann at this level I can only be confident and think France will win.’
Bachi Bachou, 32, who lives near Finsbury Park, who is also attending the event, said: ‘There is a lot of people from France in London, we call it the sixth largest city in France so it will be just amazing to watch a game with two big teams.
‘French fans are really confident, we have the best players so we will win the game for sure.’
Other French-themed pubs and restaurants, including Le Merlin, in Clapton, east London, are expecting dozens of supporters to watch the game.
And England fans are also expected to make the journey across the Channel to watch the match at bars in Paris.
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