Fans pack pubs and millions watch from home and even call in sick as England take lead against Iran

21 November 2022, 14:24

England fans have packed out fan parks and pubs across the country, with millions expected to call in sick to watch according to a YouGov poll.
England fans have packed out fan parks and pubs across the country, with millions expected to call in sick to watch according to a YouGov poll. Picture: Getty

By Chris Samuel

England fans have packed out fan parks and pubs across the country, with millions expected to call in sick to watch according to a YouGov poll.

England have taken control against Iran in their opening Group B game against Iran, with a goals from Jude Bellingham, Bukayo Saka and Raheem Sterling.

England started slowly, but a lovely looping header from World Cup debutant Jude Bellingham turned the tide, and Sterling's goal in extra time but them firmly in the driving seat.

But as the players were bracing themselves to walk out on football's biggest stage this afternoon, England fans across the nation were filling fan zones, and taking a long run up.

Read more: England captain Harry Kane won't wear 'OneLove' armband in World Cup after FA back down over booking threat

Read more: England 3-0 Iran: Three Lions go three up before half time in World Cup opener

In Orsett, Essex, Three Lions fans headed to The King's Arm pub at 5.45am to prepare for the opening game.

While Boxpark Wembley was filled with revellers knocking back mid-morning pints ahead of the 1pm kick off.

Meanwhile, around Windsor and Bristol the streets were deserted, and traffic levels significantly dropped significantly in both London and Birmingham.

In the capital, congestion was at 67 per cent at 8am, down from 75 per cent for the same time last week.

There was lighter traffic in other cities too, including Birmingham (which saw it fall from 73 per cent to 59 per cent) and Manchester (73 per cent to 69 per cent).

Painter and decorator John Goldman admitted to MailOnline that he'd pulled a ‘sickie’ so he could watch the opening match for Gareth Southgate's side.

John travelled from his Essex home, to a ticketed, FIFA-backed event in London.

With his wife Lianne by his side the pair couldn't wait for England's World Cup journey to begin.

John said: ’I was supposed to be working but decided to come here. I’m self-employed, so there’s no one to tell me off.

"Even if I had a job, I would have cancelled. I just wanted to watch the football.’

And it seems John wasn't alone, according to a YouGov poll, up 11 million people were expected to take sick day to cheer on England.

More than one in ten who were clocking on said they intended to sneakily watch the game during their work hours without their employers knowing.

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