With hopes high of an England win at Wembley – ending a 55-year trophy-less spell of hurt for Three Lions supporters – football fans are already out in force ahead of tonight’s crunch game.
The rush is now on for fans to take their seats ahead of the 8pm kick-off. Huge crowds have been pictured outside pubs in London and Brighton this afternoon, with little social distancing in sight.
And at Boxpark in Croydon, lucky fans who scored tickets in a ballot have taken their seats and ordered their rounds as they prepare to watch Gareth Southgate‘s men take on Roberto Mancini’s Azzurri side.
Even luckier fans with match tickets have also been knocking back drinks at Boxpark on Wembley Way ahead of tonight’s clash, while others have packed into the official Uefa fan park at Trafalgar Square.
More than 500 supporters clambered over fences onto the steps of the National Galllery to watch Trafalgar Square big screens, setting off red smoke flares in the process.
However fans drinking outside will now have to brave the rain, with showers beginning to fall, particularly over north London – something that could also impact on tonight’s match at Wembley.
It comes as The British Beer & Pub Association predicts England fans will buy 7.1 million pints as they watch England’s first major tournament final since the 1966 World Cup.
By the end of the competition it is estimated that £815million will have been spent in pubs and hospitality venues, with 32.6 million pints sold, according to a report by Vouchercodes.co.uk and the Centre for Retail Research.
Huge crowds have gathered outside The Faltering Fullback pub in Finsbury Park, London, ahead of the England game tonight
Down on the south coast, a large group of England fans were seen gathered outside the King and Queen pub in Brighton, Sussex, ahead of tonight’s kick-off
It comes as The British Beer & Pub Association predicts England fans will buy 7.1 million pints as they watch England’s first major tournament final since the 1966 World Cup. Pictured: England fans party on Wembley Way this afternoon
By the end of the competition it is estimated that £815million will have been spent in pubs and hospitality venues, with 32.6 million pints sold, according to a report by Vouchercodes.co.uk and the Centre for Retail Research. Pictured: Fans arrive at Wembley Way earlier today
Fans were this afternoon seen climbing polls on Wembley Way as they partied ahead of England’s game against Italy tonight
Fans brought an inflatable unicorn – similar to that used by England players in team photographs taken earlier this week – to Wembley Way this afternoon
It was a messy scene in Leicester Square this afternoon, as fans climbed on to the entrance of the tube station, while litter was scattered over the ground
Fans in Newcastle (left) painted England flags on their faces as they prepared for kick-off at Wembley. At Boxpark in Croydon (pictured right), lucky fans who scored tickets in a ballot have taken their seats and ordered their rounds as they prepare to watch Gareth Southgate’s men take on Roberto Mancini’s Azzuri side
England fans were seen wearing lion hats – to represent the Three Lions – as they prepared to party ahead of England’s match against Italy tonight
One pub in Newcastle was packed out this afternoon as England fans rushed to take a seat ahead of tonight’s game at Wembley
It’s not just England fans celebrating. Italy fans were also seen partying outside Bar Italia in Soho ahead of tonight’s game at Wembley
One Italian fan (pictured left) was seen with face paint in the Italian flag colours on Wembley Way today. Others wearing Italy tops (pictured right) were seen partying in Soho in London ahead of the match
Queues of England fans dressed in white and red were this afternoon seen queuing outside the Faltering Fullback in Finsbury Park, north London, this afternoon ahead of kick-off. The pub is around 12 miles east of Wembley Stadium.
Meanwhile, down on the south coast, a large group of England fans were seen gathered outside the King and Queen pub in Brighton, Sussex, ahead of tonight’s kick-off.
It comes as rowdy England supporters climbed on top of cars and busses around Wembley Stadium this afternoon.
Dozens of fans were seen on top of a stationary 206 bus as it attempted to make its way through huge crowds crossing the road on Wembley Way this afternoon.
Fans were also filmed setting off flares, including one at Victoria Station and several on Wembley Way.
In Piccadilly, which has become somewhat of an unofficial ‘fan park’ during the tournament, one fan was seen throwing himself off hoarding boards and into a waiting crowd below.
The atmosphere near the official fan zone in Trafalgar Square is lively ahead of the Euro 2020 final, with pubs packed and large crowds holding England flags and wearing shirts with Three Lions on the chest.
Fans without tickets for the fan zone are also gathered in the area, and some can be heard chanting and singing the national anthem.
Accountant Greg Stinson, 39, from East London, said: ‘I was at Wembley for the semi and that was rocking, but it’s almost as good here with a quality atmosphere. I’m just hoping it doesn’t go to penalties.’
Pharmacist Khai Nguyen, 34, draped in a St George’s flag, said: ‘Italy are tough but I think we can do it. Whatever happens, the team has lifted the whole country after Covid.’
Neil James, 32, from Horsham, Surrey, said: ‘I’m so fortunate to be here, I never thought I’d see anything like this in my lifetime. I can’t even comprehend the idea England could win something, I just want to drink and drink tonight, work tomorrow is on the back burner. It’s all about tonight.’
In Piccadilly, which has become somewhat of an unofficial ‘fan park’ during the tournament, one fan was seen throwing himself off hoarding boards and into a waiting crowd below
England fans in fancy-dress and sporting red and white set off flares outside Wembley Stadium ahead of the Euros final
England fans on top of a bus on Wembley Way outside Wembley Stadium ahead of the Euros clash against Italy
England fans climb aboard a bus outside the ground ahead of the UEFA Euro 2020 final at Wembley Stadium
Female England supporters clamber onto a bus on Wembley Way outside Wembley Stadium ahead of the Euros final
England football fans pose for photos on Wembley Way before the UEFA Euros final at Wembley against Italy
England supporters in Trafalgar Square said ‘history can be made’. Ross Belton, 22, from Crawley, said: ‘This is by far one of the biggest sporting days in my lifetime, I can’t think of anything that really comes close.
‘If I ever get married it’ll have to be a pretty special service to top the feeling I have right now!’
Another, named Paul, 42, an electrician from Camden, north London, said: ‘History can be made tonight, everyone has to make the most of it because we may never see it again. It’s like Christmas, if Christmas came around every 55 years, live in the moment and celebrate like mad if we win.’
One supporter said the country ‘needed’ an international tournament win. Paul Gunder, 44, from Basingstoke, said: ‘I’ve heard all the usual stories from my dad and grandad about England winning a major tournament in 1966.
‘Obviously as years go by you begin to think it’s never happening, but suddenly here we are, in a final.
‘I know some Italians and work with them, but today is our day, we’ve needed this as a country, the last year or so has been rough. I think we’ll win it by a goal.’
Tens of thousands of fans were seen walking along Wembley Way to the stadium tonight ahead of England’s game against Italy at Wembley
Football fans gather in Leicester Square and let off flares ahead of the Euros clash with Italy at Wembley
Football fans gather in Leicester Square turn over bins, wave flags, drink and let off flares ahead of the Euros clash
Lucky fans with match tickets have also been knocking back drinks at Boxpark on Wembley Way ahead of tonight’s clash
England fans drink their beers at Boxpark Wembley today ahead of England’s match against Italy in the Euro 2020 final
It comes as thousands of England fans lined the streets to cheer on the Three Lions as they made their way to Wembley ahead of tonight’s tie.
In footage shared by the official England Twitter page Saturday, rows and rows of supporters can be seen waving England flags and cheering on the squad as they depart from St George’s Park.
One player can be heard saying: ‘You’re all the best’, while another adds, ‘Did that just happen?’
The official England account tweeted: ‘Wow, what a send off.
‘Amazing scenes as the Three Lions depart St. George’s Park for the final time.’
England captain Harry Kane added: ‘Unreal send off. The support for the team has been incredible all tournament.’
The team have been based at St. George’s Park, around a 50-minute drive from Wembley, throughout the Euro 2020 tournament.
They have played every match at home apart from the quarter-final against Ukraine, which they won 4-0 in Rome.
Legions of fans were also seen waiting for the team as they arrived at their hotel.
Supporters erupted in cheers as each player stepped off the bright blue coach donning face masks and their official England tracksuits.
Meanwhile, Italy touched down at Luton airport before being taken to their hotel on their own team bus.
Legions of fans wave their hands in the air and cheer as the England squad makes its way from St. George’s Park to Wembley
The rows upon rows fans waved England flags and clapped as the Three Lions watched on from their coach in amazement at the support, as one player says: ‘You’re all the best.’
Fans draped themselves in the England flag and put their kids on their shoulders as they saw off the Three Lions squad on Saturday
Tyrone Mings exits the official England team coach to roars from dedicated fans as he arrives with the squad to their hotel on Saturday
Fans hold up their smartphones to take pictures and videos as the England coach arrives to the squad’s hotel on Saturday
Harry Kane arrives to the team’s hotel after tweeting: ”Unreal send off…The support for the team has been incredible all tournament.’
While they will have the crowd against them this evening, they are no strangers to Wembley, having played there twice so far this tournament.
Roberto Mancini’s side narrowly beat Austria in their first match in the UK capital before clinching victory over Spain in a penalty shoot out in the semi-final.
England fans are hoping for a historic night in what is the country’s first international final in 55 years.