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Football fans have piled into pubs hours ahead of the huge Euro 2020 clash between England and Ukraine – with some boozers knocking back pints since this morning.
England take on Andriy Shevchenko's Ukraine at Rome's Stadio Olimpico tonight but will be doing so largely without support in the stands as Italy remains on the UK's amber list and fans have been urged not to travel.
With Three Lions fans effectively banned from attending the crunch Euro 2020 quarter-final against Ukraine in Rome, pubs across the country are filling up with patriotic punters sinking pints hours ahead of kick off.
Pictures also show the lucky few already living in Rome flocking to the pubs while plenty of fans have been seen flooding the streets in their England shirts.
Malcolm Clarke, chairman of the Football Supporters' Association, said fans are disappointed about not being able to travel to Rome for the hotly anticipated clash, but added "we've got used to a bit of disappointment".
He told Times Radio: "We haven't been watching football live for a long time – club games and internationals (have) been missed, so to some extent, people got used to it."
England progressed to the quarter finals with a historic 2-0 victory over Germany at Wembley on Tuesday thanks to goals from Raheem Sterling and captain Harry Kane.
Millions of fans watched the clash in boozers and it is hoped the prime time kick off tonight will give a huge shot in the arm for the flailing industry and help to save many local pubs from closure.
British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) chief executive Emma McClarkin said: “It was great to see England beat Germany and progress through to the quarter-finals of the Euros.
“The team did our nation – and our pubs – proud.
“As fans will not be able to attend the next match in Rome due to Covid restrictions, the pub is THE destination to watch the game."
Tonight's showdown with Ukraine will be their 13th quarter-final in major competitions, with England having been beaten in eight of the previous 12.
But Southgate's men are huge favourites ahead of the crunch clash this evening, with a place in the semi-finals against Czech Republic or Denmark at stake.
The former Middlesborough manager led the side to the semi-finals of the World Cup in 2018 where they lost to Croatia.
His young lions have captured the hearts of the nation again this year after sailing through the group stages with two victories and a draw before beating Germany, keeping four clean sheets in the process.
And while only a handful of lucky fans are in Rome to see the game, the majority of supporters will be lending their support from back home.
Residents of Towfield Court in Feltham, London, have spent all their free hours decorating the estate with flags of St George to show support for the England team.
Since England’s Euros fixture against Scotland on June 18, Eddie Collis, Chunkz Prigmore, Ross MacDonald, Chyna Collis, Jade Brooks, Anthony Egan and Ann Grant have been decorating every evening after work.
The group have climbed on roofs for hours, put ladders up on balconies and bought every flag in their local Sainsbury's and Poundland, reports MyLondon.
More than 100 flags have been put up over the buildings while another 100 flags on strings of bunting have been tied across the court.
Residents have been known to have been woken at 7am to choruses of "It's Coming Home" from Baddiel and Skinner's mega hit Three Lions.
- Euro 2020
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