England fans book the day off work and pull sickies to watch Three Lions opening clash with Iran

‘Bunk off’ Monday! England fans book the day off work and pull sickies as they plan days at the pub to watch Three Lions opening clash with Iran before Wales take on USA later with nine million pints set to be poured

England fans have booked the day off work and are pulling sickies to watch Gareth Southgate‘s men take on Iran in their opening game of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Hopes and expectations are high after England’s semi-final performance at the previous World Cup in Russia was followed by a final defeat at Euro 2020 last year.

But the 1pm kick-off today means millions of fans across the country are set to potentially miss out on watching the game.

Supporters, though, have already started calling in sick and revealing how they booked the day off months in advance so they can instead spend the afternoon by a TV screen.

Up to 11 million people are expected to pull a sick day in order to watch the match, according to a YouGov poll.

In addition, more than one in ten said they intend to sneakily watch England’s opening fixture during their work hours without their employer knowing.

One England fan said: ‘Woke up today to find out that on one drunken day in June I booked the day off. Come on England.’

The 1pm kick-off today means millions of fans across the country are set to potentially miss out on watching the game

The 1pm kick-off today means millions of fans across the country are set to potentially miss out on watching the game

A second wrote: ‘Meowning twitter! Back to Monday again how was your weekend? I have a half day at work. Off to the pub at lunchtime to watch England.

A third said: ‘What a day to be rained off, this winter World Cup may not be that bad after all. Come on England.’

And a fourth added: ‘Today – half day. Friday – off. Next Tuesday – off. Come on England. 

Annual leave requests have soared by 13 per cent with quick-thinking employees booking the day off ahead of time.

Around a quarter of supporters have said they plan to watch the World Cup from a pub or bar, despite the unusual time of year for the tournament, with Britons expected to consume nine million pints of beer as Wales also begin their campaign today.

But as England fans take part in ‘bunk off Monday’, one boss last year sacked a woman for ‘pulling a sickie’ to watch England’s Euro 2022 semi-final win at Wembley.

Nina Farooqi, 37, dodged work at decking and cladding firm Composite Prime in Bradford, West Yorkshire, after her friend won last-minute tickets to the historic match against Denmark in a work raffle.

She said she thought that she was unlikely to be granted the day off to attend, due to work being short-staffed, and so decided to call in sick and catch the Wednesday lunchtime train from Leeds to London Kings Cross, before heading to Wembley.

Nina Farooqi, 37 (left), made an excuse to dodge work in Yorkshire after her friend offered her a last-minute ticket to the historic night at Wembley

Nina Farooqi, 37 (left), made an excuse to dodge work in Yorkshire after her friend offered her a last-minute ticket to the historic night at Wembley

England fans outside of the Khalifa International Stadium ahead of their opening World Cup Group B match against Iran

England fans outside of the Khalifa International Stadium ahead of their opening World Cup Group B match against Iran

England fans Joanne and Tony Bate outside of the stadium ahead of the match, which kicks off at 1pm back home

England fans Joanne and Tony Bate outside of the stadium ahead of the match, which kicks off at 1pm back home

England fans Alan Slater, 67 and Maxi Sterritt, 63 from Preston, are among thousands to have travelled for the game

England fans Alan Slater, 67 and Maxi Sterritt, 63 from Preston, are among thousands to have travelled for the game

But the face of the digital content producer, from Ilkley, near Bradford, was beamed around the world when a TV camera zoomed in on her and her friend celebrating England’s equalising goal. 

Meanwhile, thousands of England fans have descended on Qatar and have managed to sniff out £12 pints ahead of the team’s first match.

Supporters packed out hotels, sports bars and Irish pubs in Doha before heading to the Khalifa Stadium for the 1pm kick off UK time where booze has been banned the Gulf state’s Emir at the 11th hour.

This morning supporters are already drinking booze despite its sale being strictly controlled in the Muslim country. Videos showed them downing drinks and singing songs in the hours before the game.

Around 4,000 England supporters are believed to heading to Qatar for the World Cup with around 2,800 expected to be in the ground.

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