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England fans gather in Rome for crunch Euro 2020 clash with Ukraine
3 July 2021, 18:27 | Updated: 3 July 2021, 22:01
England fans have gathered in Rome for the crunch Euro 2020 quarter-final against Ukraine.
The Three Lions are hoping to reach their first European Championships semi-final in 25 years on Saturday, but face a stubborn opposition in Ukraine at the Italian capital's Stadio Olimpico.
England are playing their first game of the tournament away from Wembley Stadium, meaning the atmosphere on the stands is a stark contrast to what was seen against Germany on Tuesday.
With Italy still on the UK's amber travel list, supporters were urged not to travel to the game.
However, small pockets of ex-pats, travellers already in the country, or England fans from other EU nations have been able to get tickets.
But the national side are without the roar of a home crowd while taking on Andriy Shevchenko's men, which could prove to be vital if the underdogs are to break the hearts of fans back home.
Regulations in Italy also mean supporters would have needed to spend five days in self-isolation and to provide a negative post-isolation Covid test to be allowed into the stadium.
Therefore, Gareth Southgate's squad will need to create their own mini-atmosphere if they wish to finish off their Euros back in Wembley for the semi-final and, possibly, the final, which will both have an increased capacity of 60,000.
Luke Curner, originally from Folkestone in Kent, managed to avoid isolation in Italy as he travelled from Helmstedt, Germany, where he lives with his wife and children.
The 36-year-old bought tickets for the match in 2019, as it falls on his birthday weekend, and he said: "I feel very privileged to be here I'm usually on the wrong end of these kind of situations."
Jack Francis, 20, from Southampton, travelled to Rome from France and said: "Obviously it's nothing like the classic England away day you see on the telly, as apart from being able to hear English being spoken there is minimal English presence.
"I feel really lucky and privileged to be here and hopefully everything goes smoothly with getting into the stadium.
"It feels very surreal, and hopefully it will be a memorable game which will be talked about for years to come if we go all the way.
"I'm feeling confident for the game, especially if we play the way we did against Germany. But with the lack of home advantage, it will be interesting to see how we play in our first away game of the tournament, but hopefully the England fans here will do all they can to give the players a boost."
Earlier on Saturday, Boris Johnson threw his support behind the England team after posing with a giant flag of St George outside Downing Street on Friday.
Great to sign a huge @England flag in support of the @FA Respect campaign.— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) July 3, 2021
Discrimination has no place in football and we want to ensure a fun and inclusive environment for everyone.
Good luck to the team today, we’re right behind you! 🏴#SignYourSupport pic.twitter.com/UGaa16oaPE
The prime minister wrote on Twitter: "Great to sign a huge @England flag in support of the @FA Respect campaign.
"Discrimination has no place in football and we want to ensure a fun and inclusive environment for everyone.
"Good luck to the team today, we’re right behind you!"
Pictures of Mr Johnson standing in the centre of the mammoth national flag with his thumbs up were uploaded on the official Flickr account of No10 on Friday.
The images of the UK Prime Minister - who did not show similar displays of support for Scotland or Wales during the tournament - were uploaded alongside the caption: "Prime Minister Boris Johnson poses for a photograph outside 10 Downing Street with a giant St George's flag ahead of the England Quarter Final game against Ukraine."
If England progress to the next round they will face Denmark, who beat the Czech Republic prior to the Ukraine match.
The Three Lions have played tonight's opposition seven times in the past, winning four, drawing two and losing just once.
However, the last time England beat Ukraine was in the 2012 Euros, when Wayne Rooney bagged the only goal of the game which confirmed his side's place in the quarter-finals.
The last two fixtures, later in 2012 and in 2013, ended in 1-1 and 0-0 draws respectively.
Here's England's starting line-up vs Ukraine: 1. Jordan Pickford, 2. Kyle Walker, 3. Luke Shaw, 4. Declan Rice, 5. John Stones, 6. Harry Maguire, 9. Harry Kane, 10. Raheem Sterling, 14. Kalvin Phillips, 17. Jadon Sancho, 19. Mason Mount
England's quarter-final match against Ukraine kicked off at 8pm on Saturday evening. You can stay up to date with the score by tuning in to LBC or our sister station LBC News, or following us on Twitter and Facebook.