England expects: Anticipations builds for Three Lions clash with USA in Qatar World Cup

England expects: Anticipations builds as fans finish work for the day and hit the pubs to steady their nerves with a few beers ahead of Three Lions clash with USA in Qatar World Cup at 7PM

Millions of Three Lions fans have already packed pubs and are poised on their sofas ahead of England taking on the USA at 7pm tonight.

Supporters are hoping for an emphatic scoreline like Iran‘s 6-2 thrashing that would see Gareth Southgate‘s men qualify a game early for the knockout stages.

But Harry Kane face an American side featuring Premier League players including Brenden Aaronson and Tyler Adams – not to mention the son of former PSG and AC Milan striker George Weah.

Excitement was building throughout the country as pubs were packed by fans who had either bunked or convinced kind bosses they could go early.

Charlotte Dean 28 and Matthew Traher, 31, who both work for Tesco, were in Victoria Station and looking forward to the match, which they will watch on their phones as they bus home

Charlotte Dean 28 and Matthew Traher, 31, who both work for Tesco, were in Victoria Station and looking forward to the match, which they will watch on their phones as they bus home

England fans at Luna Springs Birmingham raise the flag ahead of the crunch match tonight

England fans at Luna Springs Birmingham raise the flag ahead of the crunch match tonight

Karine Fox at Iron Works Gym had a pre workout before the game but was dressed ready to go

Karine Fox at Iron Works Gym had a pre workout before the game but was dressed ready to go

England fan Frank Edmunds at The Old Moseley Arms lifts a pint ahead of the big match

England fan Frank Edmunds at The Old Moseley Arms lifts a pint ahead of the big match

At the Albert Hotel sports bar in Hull bar worker Kieran Cooper, 24, expected typical Friday night sales to double.

He said: ‘It’ll be packed in here tonight. We’ve got the biggest screen around. We’ve made sure we are fully stocked so we don’t run dry. We’ll easily shift 600 pints tonight.’

One Wales fan Leonard Clarke, 36, had even switched his allegiances after watching  his side fall 2-0 to Iran.

The roofer, a Liverpool FC supporter, said: ‘I’m on the JD and cokes trying to forget about it. We were terrible today.

A deserted Piccadilly Circus in London this afternoon and England fans fled work ahead of the big match with USA tonight

A deserted Piccadilly Circus in London this afternoon and England fans fled work ahead of the big match with USA tonight 

Football fanatic Casey Bishop, 39, who has quit his job as a sports assistant at Northumbria University in Newcastle so he can watch every World Cup game. Pictured at Newcastle's Central Park watching England play Iran on Monday

Football fanatic Casey Bishop, 39, who has quit his job as a sports assistant at Northumbria University in Newcastle so he can watch every World Cup game. Pictured at Newcastle’s Central Park watching England play Iran on Monday

England fans started drinking early in Doha today ahead of the key battle tonight at 7pm

England fans started drinking early in Doha today ahead of the key battle tonight at 7pm

‘Wales are all but finished so I’m supporting England now. I reckon they’ll win 3-0 – Sterling will score, John Stones will net a header and Bellingham will get one, too.’

And even American fans seemed to think their chances of picking up a win were slim.

At the Embankment Christmas Market in London one supporter who would only give his name as Daniel was with his family.

The Seattle local said he believed they only had a  20 per cent chance of victory.

Charlotte Dean 28 and Matthew Traher, 31, who both work for Tesco, were in Victoria Station.

They said they were so dedicated they’re watching it on the coach journey home to Bournemouth.

Casey Bishop, 39, has even quit his job at Northumbria University in Newcastle so he doesn’t miss a minute of the football at home or in the pub.

He said: ‘I would have been so miserable stuck at work. I’m a massive football fan, and I just couldn’t imagine not being able to watch them. 

‘Morally I felt as though I couldn’t go [to Qatar]. I’ve always been against it but when I heard about the atrocities and the human rights record. I couldn’t give my money to them. I have also heard from mates over there they are paying £16 for a pint of beer so I’m glad I made that decision’.

Mr Bishop has a new job lined up for the new year – and his last boss kindly halved his notice period to two weeks so he could leave just as the World Cup began.  He is watching the matches at the pub, fan zones and at home.

A quiet Embankment today ahead of tonight's England game

A quiet Embankment today ahead of tonight’s England game

Shaftsbury Avenue in the heart of theatre land was deserted

Shaftsbury Avenue in the heart of theatre land was deserted

Revealed: Harry Kane and other World Cup captains would not even have been allowed on the PITCH if they had worn OneLove armbands 

England captain Harry Kane and other World Cup captains would not even have been allowed on the football pitch if they had worn their OneLove armbands during the World Cup.

England’s football team had been planning to wear the LGBTQ+ armband along with six other European teams such as Germany and Denmark at the Qatar World Cup before the campaign was dropped when FIFA threatened to hand out yellow cards to players.

And now, it has emerged that the sanctions would have been much harsher than first thought.

The federations of England, Wales, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany and Denmark had said on Monday they had been put under pressure by FIFA, who had threatened to issue yellow cards to any player wearing the multi-coloured armband. 

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Earlier city and town centres were empty by Midday as England fans rushed home or to the pub – if they were not on the sofa already.

Bosses were also letting staff leave early after experts said there has been a massive increase in sickies. 

Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions take on their transatlantic rivals at 7pm tonight – but 5,000 supporters are already partying in Doha with millions starting early at home.

An England win will see the team qualify before playing Wales next week, with the Welsh dragons needing to win to have any hope of going through.

Football-mad workers in the UK have been throwing ‘sickies’ at record rates so they can watch World Cup matches, employers are claiming. Businesses have been flocking to legal advisers amid concerns staff are taking rogue days off, with today unlikely to be any different give the magnitude of the two matches.

Wales fans were in the pub for breakfast and some pints this morning ahead of the early kick off. And with four matches this Friday, many will make a day of it,

But the team fell flat – and lost 2-0 in the crunch game.

An estimated 10,000 English and Welsh fans are in Doha for the matches and were drinking late into the night last night ahead of their games today. Some have spent their £50,000 life savings to be in Qatar where a chicken burger and a pint is costing fans £50.

Darren Camill, 53, said that by the time he gets home he will have spent around £9,000 following the England team in Qatar. He added: ‘I’ve been to a few major tournaments with England but this is the most expensive ever. I paid £50 for a chicken burger and chips the other day which is normal in Doha.’

A fairly quiet Trafalgar Square today as Wales then England play their second games of the group stages

A fairly quiet Trafalgar Square today as Wales then England play their second games of the group stages

England's crunch game could see the team through with a game to spare as results went their way

England’s crunch game could see the team through with a game to spare as results went their way

A fan wears a cowboy hat and stars and stripes socks ahead of the match with the USA

A fan wears a cowboy hat and stars and stripes socks ahead of the match with the USA

England fans at the Red Lion pub in Doha

England fans at the Red Lion pub in Doha

He is in Qatar with his friend Karl Hanson, 53 who said: ‘We’re going to nine games in total so that’s £1,000 per game. If England win today

 

Thousands of England fans are in Qatar - but the size of support is a fraction of the number that would normally travel to support the team

Thousands of England fans are in Qatar – but the size of support is a fraction of the number that would normally travel to support the team

Egland fans getting ready for the game against USA tonight at The Pub in Kings Heath

Egland fans getting ready for the game against USA tonight at The Pub in Kings Heath

England fans getting ready for the game against USA tonight at The Pub in Kings Heath

England fan Ben Parson, from Fulham,

Lucy White, 24 from York, with her dad, Chris

England fan Ben Parson, from Fulham, and Lucy White, 24 from York, with her dad, Chris are in Doha to cheer on England

Darren Camill (right) with Karl Hanson (left) paid £50 for a pint and a chicken burger in Doha, but insist it will be worth it if England win tonight

Darren Camill (right) with Karl Hanson (left) paid £50 for a pint and a chicken burger in Doha, but insist it will be worth it if England win tonight

England fans will be praying that Harry Kane is fully fit after an injury scare this week when he hurt his ankle during the Three Lions’ 6-2 win over the Iranians.

One legal firm says it’s had a 250 per cent surge in inquiries from bosses about their legal position if they suspect employees are bunking off.

Chris Macwilliam at Clough & Willis Solicitors said it had a spike in calls after England’s 6-2 win against Iran on Monday. A YouGov poll found 11million employees could take a dodgy day off during the Qatar World Cup.

Gareth Southgate’s England have their fate in their own hands and will qualify from the group stages a game early if they beat the Americans at the Al Bayt Stadium. Around 5,000 Wales fans are in Doha. 

Gutted Wales soccer fans are begging old enemy England to ‘do us a favour’ on Monday night and it’s their only hope of staying in the World Cup.

Gutted Wales soccer fans are begging old enemy England to ‘do us a favour’ on Monday night and it’s their only hope of staying in the World Cup.

They were crying in their beer in the Welsh valleys after Iran scored two injury time goals to leave Gareth Bale’s Dragons on the brink of going out of the tournament.

Wales need England to beat the USA so they won’t need to win in the final match of the group stages.

Lifelong Wales fan Rhys Williams, 31, said: ‘We want England to do us a favour on Monday – it’s our only chance.

‘If they rest a few of their players and we play well then who knows. But even then we would have to score a few goals.’

Rhys, a register officer at the University of South Wales, was left gutted after watching the match at the New Crown pub in Merthyr Tydfil.

He said: ‘We have relied too much on Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey and their powers are waning.

‘The result has sucked the life out of us but it won’t stop the Welsh fans enjoying Monday night. Who knows what could happen.’

The agony and ecstasy of watching Wales amongst children at Rhiwbeina Primary School

The agony and ecstasy of watching Wales amongst children at Rhiwbeina Primary School 

Wales fans ahead of match against Iran. Millions will be tuning in from home, the office, or taking the game off completely

Wales fans ahead of match against Iran. Millions will be tuning in from home, the office, or taking the game off completely

Wales fans ahead of match against Iran. Millions are tuning in from home, the office, or taking the game off completely

Welsh fans queue to enter the Queens Vaults in Cardiff to watch the Iran match

Welsh fans queue to enter the Queens Vaults in Cardiff to watch the Iran match

Pals Gareth Winstone and Shaun Crane, both 49, both took the day off work to watch Wales in their first World Cup since 1958.

But their hopes were dashed when Iran took control of the second half and knocked in two goals in the dying seconds.

Insurance underwriter Gareth, of Tredegar, said: ‘It’s a sickener but in the end we weren’t good enough. You can’t argue with the result.’

Sales executive Shaun, of Dowlais, Merthyr Tydfil, added: ‘Our superstars Bale and Ramsey aren’t playing regular football and we have Championship players out there.

‘Iran are managed by a coach who was at Manchester Utd so he’s no mug. It’s disappointing but bring on England.’

The Crown run by Portuguese businessman Jorge Dascensao(CORR), 47, is bringing in soccer fans with an online invitation saying: ‘Don’t go to Qatar, come to the New Crown, the beer is cheaper and you definitely won’t go to prison for singing too loud.’

Roofer Craig Thomas, 29, of Rhondda, is dreading playing against Harry Kane’s men in the final group match next week.

He said: ‘They hammered Iran and look at the top of their game while we are not performing.

‘All we can hope is that England do us a massive favour by not turning up on the night.’

Fans who turned up to watch the game on TV at Gareth Bale’s pub Elevens in Cardiff city centre were disappointed – it didn’t open until midday.

But there were plenty of watering holes open across Wales including the Lion pub in Treorchy where the atmosphere was ‘buzzing’ until goalie Wayne Hennessey was sent off and Wales let in two sucker goals.

England fans in Qatar BANNED from dressing up as St George for World Cup match against USA because the Crusader outfit is ‘offensive to Muslims’

England fans dressed as Crusaders have been turned away from World Cup matches in Qatar as their costumes are deemed ‘offensive to Muslims’.

Two fancy-dress knights were allegedly seen on social media trying to get through security before England’s match with Iran on Monday while wearing chainmail and helmets bearing the St George’s Cross.

It is claimed that the pair, who were also carrying novelty swords, were escorted away by four officers at the security gate before kick-off.

And a similar experience could be in store for those attending tonight’s match against the USA, with the Times reporting Three Lions fans have been banned from dressing as the Christian invaders. 

It comes as England fans, who have long supported the team bearing the garb of St George – the nation’s patron saint – at previous World Cups, find themselves in trouble for doing so this time around.

FIFA and anti-racism groups say dressing up as Crusaders in an Arab country such as Qatar could be seen as offensive given the historical context.

Some Doha residents appear to have been upset by the choice of outfit, given the religious wars between 1095 and 1291 were about taking land and holy sites under Islamic control.

England fans dressed as Crusaders with chainmail, shields and swords are stopped by security outside a stadium in Qatar

England fans dressed as Crusaders with chainmail, shields and swords are stopped by security outside a stadium in Qatar

An England fan dressed as a Crusader kneels at a security check at the World Cup in Qatar

An England fan dressed as a Crusader kneels at a security check at the World Cup in Qatar

At one point the group, carrying foam swords and wearing chain mail and Knights Templar robes marked with the cross of St George, were spoken to by security in Doha outside the stadium. Some claimed on social media they were even turned away or detained.

At one point the group, carrying foam swords and wearing chain mail and Knights Templar robes marked with the cross of St George, were spoken to by security in Doha outside the stadium. Some claimed on social media they were even turned away or detained.

At one point the group, carrying foam swords and wearing chain mail and Knights Templar robes marked with the cross of St George, were spoken to by security in Doha outside the stadium. Some claimed on social media they were even turned away or detained.

It is claimed a group carrying foam swords and wearing chain mail and Knights Templar robes marked with the cross of St George, were spoken to by security in Doha outside a stadium. Some claimed on social media they were even turned away or detained

Prince William tells England squad to avoid social media 

Sam Greenhill, Chief Reporter in Doha

England coach Gareth Southgate last night revealed Prince William’s advice to the squad – avoid social media.

He said the heir to the throne gave invaluable tips when they met before flying out to Qatar.

Southgate said the team were following his counsel to focus on matches rather than headlines and social media distractions.

He said: ‘We really like our base camp – we don’t have televisions on particularly, other than for matches.

‘Of course I’m sure the lads are following stuff on social media and the internet but we have talked from time to time about the importance of ignoring those things.

‘We actually had the future king come in and talk to the lads about that, which was a point we couldn’t have paid him better to say, about dealing with social media.’

Saluting his squad ahead of today’s England-USA clash, Southgate added: ‘These players are putting our country on the map – they are regaining our respectability on the world stage and we’ve got to keep doing that.’

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One of the crusaders spoke to TalkTV after England’s 6-2 win over Iran on Monday. 

The man, who was not named, said: ‘The problem is in places like Qatar, the fans are the essence of the game. We are what makes the game. 

‘It’s not the corporates, they help financially in the background, it’s us the fans that make the football and we are the football’. 

He said that they were staying in the fan park paying £250-a-night. 

FIFA said: ‘Crusader costumes in the Arab context can be offensive against Muslims. That is why Anti-Discrimination colleagues asked fans to wear things inside out or change dress.’

Kick It Out, the anti-racism campaign group in football said: ‘Certain attire, such as fancy-dress costumes representing knights or crusaders, may not be welcomed in Qatar. 

Researcher Robert Carter tweeted: ‘The attire, complete with swords and crosses, is offensive due to crusader history of rape, slaughter and occupation of Arab lands.’

But some England fans in Qatar pointed out that a cheering Saudi Arabia fan was apparently allowed to wave a real three-foot long scimitar in jubilation among crowds outside the stadium after his team’s shock win over Argentina.

The best-known Crusades took place between 1096 and 1291 when Christian armies fought to seize Jerusalem and the surrounding area from Islamic rule.

Footage from Qatar before and after the England game showed the one group dressed up as knights singing God Save the King and storming up the stairs on public transport. Some locals appeared shocked by their choice of outfits – others asked them to pose for selfies. 

Meanwhile, bars in Doha are demanding fans wearing traditional Arabic robes and headdress remove them over fears it offends locals and insults Islam.

The clothing has become popular among fans and is being widely sold in the team colours of the 32 nations playing at the tournament.

The latest incident follows days of mounting criticism for the Qatari police’s forceful handling of fans as the row over LGBT symbols rumbles on in the Gulf state.

Qatar officials have repeatedly stated ‘all are welcome’ at the World Cup, despite the fact same-sex relationships remain illegal in the country.

England and other teams planning to wear the ‘OneLove’ armbands to make a statement against discrimination during the World Cup in Qatar were also said to be ‘blackmailed’ with the looming threat of ‘massive sporting sanctions’.

Fans and journalists from multiple nations have reported rainbow-themed items, including t-shirts, bucket hats and flags, being confiscated by officials.

Despite FIFA’s insistence that ‘all are welcome’ in the Gulf state, fans, journalists and LGBT groups have all faced an authoritarian-style crackdown with rainbow attire confiscated at stadiums.

The sale of beer was also banned at stadiums in a stunning 11th-hour about turn by Qatari officials – leaving many fans fuming and FIFA red faced.

The Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani demanded all visitors ‘respect our culture’, with fans expected to fall in line with the Gulf state’s rules and cultural practices.

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