Thousands of England rugby fans have starting pouring into Paris today to watch their heroes take on South Africa in the World Cup semi-final.
Punters in Red Rose jerseys have already begun sinking pints in the run-up to tonight’s grudge match against the Springboks.
Some 20,000 England fans are expected to cheer on the team when they take to the pitch at the Stade de France in the French capital.
But Steve Borthwick’s team are coming into the clash as the underdogs, with bookies giving odds of just 5/1 to beat the current world champions.
And despite the odds, England’s army of supporters still remain hopeful the team can pull off a famous victory.
Richard and Ben Summers, father and son from Sheffield, are already sinking pints in Paris ahead of England’s semi-final match against South Africa at the Rugby World Cup
Simon Goss and Tony Brett from Bath are also getting into the spirit in France
Some 20,000 England fans are expected to watch tonight’s match in the Stade de France. Pictured is England captain Owen Farrell celebrating his team’s win over Fiji in the quarter-finals last week
‘There’s no reason why we can’t do it,’ said Tony Brett, 43 from Bath. ‘Whatever happens it’s going to be a great game.’
Mr Brett was part of a travelling army of fans from the UK who were in the French capital for the Saturday evening clash.
‘We might be underdogs, but England can certainly do it,’ said Simon Goss, also 43 and from Bath.
Father and son Toby and Nick Walter, aged 51 and 19, from Sevenoaks in Kent, also believed England had a fight chance.
‘England to win by three points is my prediction,’ said Mr Walter, who was wearing a British & Irish Lions kit.
‘We’ll be wearing our white England kit at the game,’ he said, adding: ‘We’re England first and Lions second.’
Richard and Ben Summers, another father and son, aged 52 and 25, from Sheffield, attended the New Zealand win against Argentina on Friday night as a warmup to the England game.
‘If every player is at his best, and South Africa make a few mistakes then – yes – we can do it,’ said Mr Summer senior.
Toby and Nick Walter, father and son from Sevenoaks in Kent, don their red British Lions kit in Paris
Richard and Ben Summers, father and son from Sheffield, relax ahead of tonight’s game
Ollie Lawrence of England poses for a photograph with a fan after the Rugby World Cup France 2023 Quarter Final match between England and Fiji
‘We follow England, Sheffield and Knottingley rugby club and know that the game can throw up all kinds of surprise. Whatever happens, it should be a superb night.’
Tonight’s clash comes on the anniversary of two famous British military victories which fans hope will spur England on to.
On October 21 1805, British military hero Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson led the Royal Navy to one of its most famous victories at the Battle of Trafalgar.
Lord Nelson’s fleet of 27 warships where outnumbered when they took on and defeated the 33 ships of the combined French and Spanish armada.
The exactly 94 years later, in 1899, English soldiers from the Devonshire and Manchester regiments were among those who triumphed in the Battle of Elandslaagte in South Africa.
Troops fighting for the South African Republic under General Johannes Kock were roundly defeated in the town of Elandslaagte, north of Ladysmith, during the Second Boer War.
An epic performance by England’s warriors was again required if they were to have any chance of beating Rugby World Cup champions South Africa.
Marcus Smith of England feeds a pass during the Rugby World Cup France 2023 Quarter Final match between England and Fiji at Stade Velodrome on October 15
As fans arrived by train, plane and car, a vast security operation unfolded to keep them all safe.
France is on maximum terror alert following the killing of a school teacher by a self-styled ISIS terrorist in Arras, north of Paris, a week ago, and multiple bomb alerts.
The Palace of Versailles, Louvre Museum and Eiffel Tower have all been shut down at various times over the past week because of false warnings.
In 2015, three ISIS suicide bombers targeted the Stade de France during an international football match between France and Germany attended by the then French president, François Hollande.
The latest fears come as tensions mount across the world because of the Israel-Hamas War in the Middle East.
Today will also see England taking on South Africa in the Cricket World Cup.