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Fans voice fury at Gareth Southgate after Marcus Rashford is benched for Senegal clash

England fans voiced their fury at Gareth Southgate in the build up to tonight’s crunch World Cup match against Senegal as news emerged that top scorer Marcus Rashford was dropped to the bench.

The Manchester United already has three goals to his name in Qatar after bagging a brace against Wales and another in the 6-2 demolition of Iran.

But despite his impressive form, Southgate has opted for Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka to start in the crucial last 16 clash, while Raheem Sterling has also missed out to deal with a ‘family matter’.

Many supporters were not best pleased with the news, taking to social media to slam the decision.

England fans voiced their fury at Gareth Southgate in the build up to tonight’s crunch World Cup match against Senegal as news emerged that top scorer Marcus Rashford was dropped to the bench

Raheem Sterling has also missed out to deal with a 'family matter'

Raheem Sterling has also missed out to deal with a ‘family matter’ 

England supporters at Boxpark in Croydon ahead of tonight's crucial clash with Senegal

England supporters at Boxpark in Croydon ahead of tonight’s crucial clash with Senegal

ENGLAND TEAM TO PLAY SENEGAL 

Jordan Pickford, Kyle Walker, John Stones, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw; Jude Bellingham, Declan Rice, Jordan Henderson; Bukayo Saka, Harry Kane, Phil Foden. 

One wrote: No Rashford is a joke. Been our best and most threatening player the first 3 games. Southgate’s a [clown].’ 

Another said: ‘In the last game, Marcus Rashford scored two self-created goals & won the ball back with a high press to create the third. And what has Southgate done in return? Benched him.’

A third added: ‘Rashford being benched doesn’t sit right with me at all considering his current form.’

Saka caught the eye with two goals against Iran but missed out on a start against Wales last Tuesday in favour of Rashford and Manchester City’s Phil Foden, who retains his place tonight.

Sterling, who also scored in the opening game, has been left out of the squad altogether due to a family matter. 

Bukayo Saka and Phil Foden both start for England against Senegal this evening in Qatar

Bukayo Saka and Phil Foden both start for England against Senegal this evening in Qatar

It comes as England fans are lining the streets of Al Khor close to the Al Bayt stadium ahead of the hotly anticipated round of 16 clash.

Three Lions supporters were pictured waving St. George’s crosses and dressed head to toe in national team garb as they pounded the pavements in Doha, with many predicting an ‘easy’ win in their first knockout game in the World Cup.

Hayden Smith, 27, from Essex, said: ‘I want to get it done, get through to the quarters and beat France as well.’

Spurs fan Mr Smith added: ‘(Harry) Kane hat-trick, watch, he’ll score tonight – everyone is slagging him off but he’s going to get a goal tonight – easy 3-0, 4-0.’

On Senegal, Mr Smith said: ‘I know they’re the champions of Africa but I watched them in the Afcon (Africa Cup of Nations) and the group and I don’t think they’re all that, I think we’ll be fine.’

On England’s chances for the rest of the World Cup, he said: ‘I think we’re going to win it’. 

Friends Tom Egerton and Tom King, both 31 and from Winchester, were dressed in traditional Arab robes as they sampled the atmosphere with other England fans.

Mr Egerton, who works in property, said: ‘Hopefully Southgate plays positive today and it should be a good game.

‘I reckon it’s going to be 2-1 (to England).’

Mr King, who works in construction, said ‘it’s coming home’ when asked about England and predicted a 3-1 win against Senegal.

Asked about their outfits, the pair said they had been inspired to wear the robes and headdresses after seeing other fans wear them at the Wales game.

England fans are seen soaking up the atmosphere in the Souq area of Doha, ahead of the FIFA World Cup Round of Sixteen match at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar

England fans are seen soaking up the atmosphere in the Souq area of Doha, ahead of the FIFA World Cup Round of Sixteen match at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar

England and Senegal supporters in the Souk Waqif in Doha, Qatar, 04 December 2022

England and Senegal supporters in the Souk Waqif in Doha, Qatar, 04 December 2022

Three Lions supporters clap and chant as excitement builds ahead of England's round of 16 match with Senegal

Three Lions supporters clap and chant as excitement builds ahead of England’s round of 16 match with Senegal

A family of England supporters wave flags in the streets close to the Al Bayt stadium

A family of England supporters wave flags in the streets close to the Al Bayt stadium

An England fan braves the 26 degree celsius Qatar heat in a long curly wig and facepaint

England fans Tom Egerton (left) and Tom King (right), at the Cabana Hop Garden in Doha

England fans Tom Egerton (left) and Tom King (right), at the Cabana Hop Garden in Doha

England fans in the Souq area of Doha, ahead of the FIFA World Cup Round of Sixteen match between England and Senegal which will be played at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar

England fans in the Souq area of Doha, ahead of the FIFA World Cup Round of Sixteen match between England and Senegal which will be played at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar

Fans pose for pictures in the streets of Doha hours before tonight's match between England and Senegal

Fans pose for pictures in the streets of Doha hours before tonight’s match between England and Senegal

Workers prepare the Al Bayt stadium hours before fans being flocking in to witness the round of 16 clash between England and Senegal

Workers prepare the Al Bayt stadium hours before fans being flocking in to witness the round of 16 clash between England and Senegal

Speaking ahead of tonight’s match, England manager Southgate kept his cards close to his chest, admitting there really was no ‘right or wrong’ answer to who should start for the Three Lions. 

‘It’s a good position to be in,’ Southgate said. ‘You want your players in confident mood and our forward players are.

‘Of course you want to try to make the best possible decision, but in some respects I’m not sure there’s a right or a wrong. Whichever players we start with, we’re going to need the bench, we need the strength.

Back in Britain, England fans hit the beers early this morning as they calm their nerves ahead of tonight’s last 16 tie, with 15 million pints set to be sunk on Sunday.

MailOnline spoke to punters in boozers across the nation to gauge the excitement and anticipation just hours before the Three Lions take on Senegal later today.

James, 43, from Birmingham, speaking to MailOnline from a Wetherspoon’s in Victoria, said: ‘It’s going to be a very tough game. They are a very physical team Senegal are, it’s going to be a very tough game. 

‘We need to play Phil Foden and Marcus Rashford,’ he added. ‘We need the same team that wins, like the last game. I am super excited, I think we are going to win and I’m predicting a 2-1 win to England. We are going to win the World Cup — it’s coming home.’

A group of lads from Brighton enjoy a early drink at a pub near Tower Bridge ahead of tonight's round of 16 clash vs Senegal

A group of lads from Brighton enjoy a early drink at a pub near Tower Bridge ahead of tonight’s round of 16 clash vs Senegal

England fan Colin Evans poses with pooch Remus at the Grant Ames Pub in Birmingham

England fan Colin Evans poses with pooch Remus at the Grant Ames Pub in Birmingham

James, 43, from Birmingham, speaking to MailOnline from a Wetherspoon in Victoria, said: 'It's going to be a very tough game' but added 'we are going to win the World Cup'

James, 43, from Birmingham, speaking to MailOnline from a Wetherspoon in Victoria, said: ‘It’s going to be a very tough game’ but added ‘we are going to win the World Cup’

Chris Kingdon, Ian Davis, Brian Allen, Michael Ball, all in their 50s from Abingdon, had found a table early Sunday in the same Wetherspoon’s. 

Chris is more pessimistic, saying: ‘Can’t see England getting to the final, semi-finals they will get to though.’

He added: ‘We knew we were going to beat Wales the other day but I am not sure we have played with the quality to go through to the final yet. If we get through tonight and play France that will be great.’ 

But Ian offered a more positive outlook: ‘They will win tonight’s match, 2-1 prediction. 

‘The team does seem to be like a big family. But whatever Southgate does people knock him, they build him up and knock him down, despite what he’s achieved but that’s football.

‘They need to play Foden tonight, and Rashford. Once he gets Foden back in it will be alright.’

From left to right: Chris Kingdon, Ian Davis, Brian Allen, Michael Ball, all in their 50s from Abingdon in Wetherspoon's, ready for England's game with Senegal on Sunday

From left to right: Chris Kingdon, Ian Davis, Brian Allen, Michael Ball, all in their 50s from Abingdon in Wetherspoon’s, ready for England’s game with Senegal on Sunday

England fans Colin Evans and Pete Lennon getting ready for the England v Senegal game later at the Grant Ames Pub in Birmingham

England fans Colin Evans and Pete Lennon getting ready for the England v Senegal game later at the Grant Ames Pub in Birmingham

Pino Dervishi, 40, from London and Samantha Dixon, 31, from Birmingham, are pictured enjoying drinks in London ahead of tonight's match between England and Senegal

Pino Dervishi, 40, from London and Samantha Dixon, 31, from Birmingham, are pictured enjoying drinks in London ahead of tonight’s match between England and Senegal

Kim Gibson, 38, from Newcastle at The Gloucester in Knightsbridge, told MailOnline: ‘I think it will probably be a 2-1 win, and I’d love to see Trippier out there as I’m a Newcastle supporter. Rooting for the home lads to be on there.

‘I’d love to see them go the whole way but it’s such an uncomfortable competition I’m unsure. I am just going to watch in hope.’

Rob Henney, 30, who is the general manager of the Paxton’s Head in Belgravia said: ‘I’m feeling quite positive. I think we are going to do very well and we will progress. I think tonight we will win about 3-1. 

‘We are fully booked out in here tonight. People are going to be able to watch it on all three floors. It’s been crazy so far and now the knock out stages are underway it’s getting even busier. 

‘I’d like to see England get through to the semis, I think that it would be a good achievement after getting to the finals of the Euros but I would obviously like to see us go all the way this time.’

Moeen, 34, from London: ‘I think England really needs to buck up for this game. They need to do something outside the box to win because so far they haven’t been aggressive and no one has really been scared of England. 

‘Things have been going very easily for them. England has to be smart tonight, they haven’t had very strong competition so far in the world cup. Hopefully they will win this and get through to the last eight, and after that it’s anyone’s game really. 

‘I think England has a chance of winning 2-1, I think that it’ll be very close but let’s hope it goes our way.’

Pino Dervishi, 40, also from London, added: ‘Tonight England are going to win against Senegal because [Senegal’s] main player Mané won’t be playing. I think it will be quite an easy win, we will see them go through to play against France. 

‘Then whoever gets through out of England and France will win the World Cup. If England beat France they’ll go the final and win.’ 

England fans in Leeds wear festive outfits and hold the flag the night before England's game with Senegal on Sunday

England fans in Leeds wear festive outfits and hold the flag the night before England’s game with Senegal on Sunday

Saint George's Cross flags on display at the Kirby Estate, Bermondsey, ahead of the England vs Senegal football World Cup Clash

 Saint George’s Cross flags on display at the Kirby Estate, Bermondsey, ahead of the England vs Senegal football World Cup Clash

Rob Henney, 30, who is the general manager of the Paxton's Head in Belgravia said: 'I'm feeling quite positive. I think we are going to do very well and we will progress. I think tonight we will win about 3-1'

Rob Henney, 30, who is the general manager of the Paxton’s Head in Belgravia said: ‘I’m feeling quite positive. I think we are going to do very well and we will progress. I think tonight we will win about 3-1’

Pubs, bars and eateries will be rammed as punters pile in for tonight’s last-16 clash against the Lions of Taranga.

Experts predict a bumper £22m will be spent in the nation’s pubs and up to £175m in supermarkets for matchday essentials today. 

Some £53m will be spent on new TVs and electricals, £34,7 on sportswear and £11.2m on souvenirs, according to a vouchercodes.co.uk World Cup Spending Report.

The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) said pub-goers will guzzle 15 million pints today, with thousands expected to have booked off work tomorrow.

Around £94m is expected to be spent across the whole hospitality sector. 

Matt Todd, who runs the Wonston Arms in the Hampshire hamlet of Wonston, near Winchester, said a successful England World Cup run would be an ‘early Christmas present’ for small pubs.

The CAMRA pub-of-the-year has been a public house since the 1800s but faced an uncertain future during the pandemic, where it was unable to open for months because it does not serve food.

At Rossiter’s Organic Butchers in Birmingham, punters were lining up to buy special Bellingham bangers — named after the England prodigy, 19

At Rossiter’s Organic Butchers in Birmingham, punters were lining up to buy special Bellingham bangers — named after the England prodigy, 19

Blues fan Steve, 55, said: 'Everyone loves the Bellingham bangers — except for the Aston Villa fans. The sausages have a peppery kick to them — and we hope Jude will be peppering the Senegalese goal'

Blues fan Steve, 55, said: ‘Everyone loves the Bellingham bangers — except for the Aston Villa fans. The sausages have a peppery kick to them — and we hope Jude will be peppering the Senegalese goal’

Tim Reed, 63 from Ipswich, Suffolk said: 'We're going to win 2-1. I'm really looking forward to the match and am getting very excited about it'

Tim Reed, 63 from Ipswich, Suffolk said: ‘We’re going to win 2-1. I’m really looking forward to the match and am getting very excited about it’

Mr Todd, 54, said: ‘The World Cup is running over what would normally be our quietest weeks of the year.

‘The first three England games saw our sales 320% up on this time last year.

‘A good cup run will mean tills ringing louder and longer for me as a publican. The knockouts will drive more people into pubs craving that big match atmosphere.

‘Our cellar is stocked full of beer for tonight and the phone has not stopped ringing with people wanting seats.

‘It feels like this one is going to be a whopper — and it’s only the last 16.’ 

At Rossiter’s Organic Butchers in Birmingham, punters were lining up to buy special Bellingham bangers, named after the England prodigy. 

The sausages – which contain Gloucester old spot pork spiced with pepper and chilli – were the brainchild of master butcher Steve Rossiter, 55.

Bellingham played for Birmingham City before making a big-money move to German club Borussia Dortmund in 2020.

Blues fan Steve, 55, said: ‘Everyone loves the Bellingham bangers — except for the Aston Villa fans.

‘The sausages have a peppery kick to them — and we hope Jude will be peppering the Senegalese goal.

‘Jude is a proper West Midlands lad and we are all so proud of how far he has gone.’

England fans line the streets in the Souq area of Doha ahead of tonight's match with Senegal

England fans line the streets in the Souq area of Doha ahead of tonight’s match with Senegal

England fan Carl is pictured with Senegal fans in Doha. Senegalese football fans based in the UK have decided where their loyalties lie as they gear up for Sunday's World Cup clash

England fan Carl is pictured with Senegal fans in Doha. Senegalese football fans based in the UK have decided where their loyalties lie as they gear up for Sunday’s World Cup clash

UK ambassador to Senegal says atmosphere is incredible in ‘football mad’ country

The UK ambassador to Senegal has described the amazing atmosphere the upcoming match has created in the ‘football mad’ country, as well as the ‘banter’ it has generated between foreign ministers about who will win.

Juliette John said that England and Senegal are united through their ‘passion for football’.

‘Senegal is about as football mad, if not more, than the UK is, so this is really the top thing on people’s minds here,’ Ms John said from Dakar, Senegal.

‘Everyone has been watching the matches with bated breath here. In fact, some people are so intense about it, they can’t even watch the match.’

As a self-professed football fan, she will be watching the match and hosting at her residence a small number of Senegalese and British Government representatives and friends.

‘Obviously it will be a national tragedy if England beat Senegal, and vice versa, but I think generally the atmosphere is very positive.’

She added: ‘I think it will be very tight.

‘The Senegalese team is very strong defensively, the English team are very strong in attacking midfield.

‘It will be interesting to see what both teams do, their tactics and who they put on the pitch.

‘Obviously I want to say that England’s going to win, but I think it’s going to be an interesting match regardless.’

The Chestergate pub in Stockport meanwhile has changed its name to The Southgate in honour of the England boss. 

Pub manager Stephanie Armstrong, 34, is expecting a full house well before the 7pm kick off.

She said: ‘There’s going to be a brilliant atmosphere in here. I can’t wait.

‘We’ve got loads of screens showing the footie and we’ve ordered extra beer in. It’s not going to be a usual Sunday night.’

According to data consultancy CGA Insight, England’s first World Cup game with Iran netted an 62% uplift in beer sales.

Spending in pubs, bars and clubs rose by 20.5% for the Wales game compared with the same day in 2021.

UK Hospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: ‘Big, televised sporting events always provide a boost to pubs and this comes at a particularly helpful time, as businesses struggle to cover rising costs and footfall decreases with consumers tightening their spending.

‘Pubs will be putting in a huge amount of time, effort and resource to offer the ideal place to watch the football but many are still suffering from a lack of staff, so we’d encourage all visitors to be patient with bar staff while they work during one of the busiest times of the year.’

Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer and Pub Association said: ‘Pubs were hoping for a boost to business during this World Cup and so far, the beer has been flowing, and fans have been showing up to cheer on England.

‘The tournament has been filling up pubs on days that otherwise might be quieter, and we’re hoping that trend continues in the next couple of weeks.

‘It’s been a tough year for our industry, and we know people are feeling the pinch but we’re really hoping fans continue to turn out to support two great British institutions by toasting to the Three Lions at their local pub. We’ll be keeping everything crossed because when England do well, so do our pubs!’

In Doha, England fans started gathering early in bars located in and around the city’s four and five star hotels as they knocked back the pints in preparation for the last 16 knock out clash while others hit the city’s malls for some shopping and to enjoy the air conditioning.

Tim Reed, 63 from Ipswich, Suffolk said: ‘We’re going to win 2-1. I’m really looking forward to the match and am getting very excited about it.

‘The only problem is that I’m supposed to fly home after the game so if England do get to the quarter-finals I might have to fly back. It’s been a fantastic tournament so far and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.’

Kevin Cassidy, 43 from Leeds said: ‘I follow England all over the world and at last we’re looking like a team that can win something. We’ve come close recently but this time I think we’re going to do it.

‘My prediction is a 2-1 victory. But whatever happens it’s been a fantastic experience being in Qatar. I’ve loved every minute of it.’

His friend Darren Sutcliffe, 55 also from Leeds added: ‘I’m not feeling as confident as some of the other England fans but I think we’ll win on penalties.

‘There’s not going to be as many England fans in the ground as there normally are at big games so it’s going to feel a bit strange. But I’m praying that it’s going to be a great night.’

England fans in the Souq area of Doha, ahead of the FIFA World Cup Round of Sixteen match between England and Senegal

England fans in the Souq area of Doha, ahead of the FIFA World Cup Round of Sixteen match between England and Senegal

Fans of Senegal dance at the traditional market Souq Waqif during the World Cup in Doha

Fans of Senegal dance at the traditional market Souq Waqif during the World Cup in Doha

British Embassy Dakar's football team with Salif Diao (British Embassy Dakar, Senegal)

British Embassy Dakar’s football team with Salif Diao (British Embassy Dakar, Senegal)

At the Cabana Hop Garden in the Radisson Blu Hotel in Doha, some England supporters said their side should have ‘too much’ for the African nation, with one adding: ‘I don’t think there’s anyone to fear’.

Meanwhile, Senegalese football fans based in the UK have decided where their loyalties lie as they gear up for Sunday’s World Cup clash which will send either Senegal or England out of the tournament.

The Three Lions’ 3-0 win over Wales secured them a spot in the knockout stages against Senegal, who became group A runners-up with a 2-1 victory over Ecuador on Tuesday.

Veronique Sow is from Senegal and will support them against England but has lived in Sutton, south London, for five years and said she expects ‘a very tough match’ on Sunday, which her close friend and the team’s injured star, Sadio Mane, is set to miss.

‘He’s very sad because the World Cup is a very, very big competition,’ the 31-year-old, who works for music streaming company Deezer, told the PA news agency.

‘He’s our best player… But we are doing quite well without him. And that’s why everyone is shocked because we are playing very well without him.

‘Whatever the outcome of the match, I will be happy because Senegal is my country and England is my adoptive country.’

Ms Sow and Mane first met when she was working for the Senegalese Football Federation 10 years ago.

She is in Qatar and has tickets for Sunday’s match, which she believes will go to penalties after a 1-1 draw before Senegal clinch a spot in the quarter-finals.

Ms Sow explained that her husband, who is British, will also support Senegal – but maintained England will gain her support if they triumph.

‘It’s definitely my second home because when the competition started, I was sharing pictures of England and Senegal as well,’ she said.

England fans with a Stockport County flag, in the Souq area of Doha,

England fans with a Stockport County flag, in the Souq area of Doha,

Ms Sow is from Senegal and will support them against England but has lived in Sutton, London, for five years and said she expects 'a very tough match' on Sunday

Ms Sow is from Senegal and will support them against England but has lived in Sutton, London, for five years and said she expects ‘a very tough match’ on Sunday

‘I support Senegal and England but for this game, I have made a choice and I will support Senegal. If we lose, I will come back and then support England for the rest of the World Cup.’

Aziz Ndiaye, 52, is also from Senegal but holds dual citizenship as he has lived in the UK since 1996 when he came to study at the University of Westminster.

Mr Ndiaye, an accountant based in Greenwich, told PA he is ‘pretty confident’ Senegal will win but described conflicting family ties as his 11-year-old son, Jules, will back England.

‘He might not have supper, depending on the results,’ Mr Ndiaye joked.

‘I would rather not play (England) because they are my two countries, but it’s football.

‘I’m feeling pretty confident, even though we’ve been given 1% of a winning chance against England.’

Mr Ndiaye added that if Senegal were to exit the competition, he would support England.

He has not yet decided where he will watch the match — which he predicts will finish 2-1 to Senegal — but said many of his Senegalese friends in London will tune in.

‘People are very excited,’ he said. ‘Hopefully there will be a good turnout… I’ve got my Senegal shirt here, I’ve also got my flag ready. Bring on Sunday.’

Faty Kane, who is Senegalese and lives in Whitley Bay near Newcastle, told PA she is ‘totally confident’ Senegal will beat England.

‘We are the African champions so it would be sad if we were to go out so soon,’ the 39-year-old founder of womenswear label Tarunah said.

England fans Hayden Smith and Joe Parker, from Essex, at the Cabana Hop Garden in Doha, ahead of kick-off

England fans Hayden Smith and Joe Parker, from Essex, at the Cabana Hop Garden in Doha, ahead of kick-off

England fans at the Cabana Hop Garden in Doha, ahead of the FIFA World Cup Round of Sixteen match between England and Senegal which will be played at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar. Picture date: Sunday December 4, 2022

England fans at the Cabana Hop Garden in Doha, ahead of the FIFA World Cup Round of Sixteen match between England and Senegal which will be played at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar. Picture date: Sunday December 4, 2022

A Senegalese fan wears a boubou, fashioned out of the Senegalese National flag, in Dakar

A Senegalese fan wears a boubou, fashioned out of the Senegalese National flag, in Dakar

‘I think we will have to show that we are not the African champions for nothing.’

Mrs Kane thinks it will be 1-0 to Senegal but hopes her team scores even more goals.

Despite being sad star player Sadio Mane is injured, she said: ‘I am totally confident that they will win, especially after their performance in their last game.’

Mrs Kane said her husband Steve, 41, who works for a charity, is British and whose family is from Scotland, is a ‘proper football fanatic’ and will want England to win.

However, he will ‘still be happy’ if Senegal win and his family are supporting the Senegalese team.

As for the couple’s children, Mrs Kane said they have a fairly diplomatic stance, saying ‘we want England and Senegal to win’.

‘They were quite loyal to the Senegalese team and then when we told them that Senegal would play England, they did not know who to support – I think they just want both teams to win,’ she added.

Their children share their names with two of Senegal’s top players.

Daughter Sadio, four, shares her name with Mane and son Kalidou, three, shares his name with captain Kalidou Koulibaly.

The family will tune into the match wearing their football shirts and waving flags and, despite saying there is no chance of a rivalry brewing, Mrs Kane said she might need to think of a bet against her family if her match prediction comes true.

Senegal fans in central Doha prepared for their World Cup game against England by performing traditional dances and singing their own version of ‘It’s coming home’.

Dozens of supporters of the West African country staged a Sanbar dance which is performed for good luck ahead of major events.

Senegal’s fans are known as the ’12th man’ because of their vociferous and colourful support of the team, who are nicknamed ‘The Lions of Teranga.’

Antonia Seck, 26 from Dakar said: ‘We’re getting ready for the big game in the same way we would prepare for a wedding or any other celebration. That’s because after the match against England, we will be celebrating.’

Her friend Georgia Diop, 28 added: ‘We love to dance and sing in Senegal. It’s going to be a great game and we will win.’

Meanwhile, England fans back home hit the beers early this morning, calling on Southgate’s men to bring football home for Christmas ahead of their knockout tie against Senegal tonight.

MailOnline spoke to punters in boozers across Britain to gauge the excitement and anticipation just hours before the Three Lions take to the field later today, with a whopping 15 million pints expected to be sunk across the country.

At The George pub, in Croydon, England flags were almost hidden among fairy lights, baubles and festive wreaths as supporters gathered for the last 16 game against Senegal.

Nathan Hurley, 25, said: ‘What better Christmas present than England lifting the World Cup? Although there may be more chance of Santa squeezing down my chimney on Christmas Eve!

‘I’m looking forward to it, but I’m a bit nervy as well because Senegal won the last Africa Cup of Nations and have got a lot of quality.

‘But so do we and England have progressed bit by bit under Gareth Southgate, we’ve had a semi-final, a final so now we just need to actually win something!’

Pal Ryan Cater, 25, was more confident and said: ‘I think we’ll win, we’ve got a lot of firepower and as long we’re not overly defensive we should have too much for Senegal.

‘I’m an Arsenal fan and I’m hoping Bukayo Saka will play a part. He’s been in good form for the Gunners and I reckon he’s still got a lot more to give for England.

‘Hopefully England will give us some seasonal cheer and not play like turkeys!’

Box Park in Croydon, which is showing the game on big screens, is expecting up to 1600 fans this evening, who have paid £25 for a ticket. 

Meanwhile in Newcastle, fans began piling into the Fan Zone from 3pm to secure prime seats to watch the match.

Pals Jayde Guy, 31, Emily Henson, 25, and Jemma Herring donned Three Lions shirts as they cheered: ‘It’s coming home for Christmas!’

Financial services worker Jayde said: ‘I’m feeling really positive. We’ve played some brilliant football and I don’t think Senegal will be able to cope.

‘I’m going to say 3-1 to England. And then beat France in the quarters. We might not be in Qatar but we are still roaring the boys on.’

Emily, an administrator from Newcastle, added: ‘It will bouncing in here later. Everyone is really excited – I think there will be high energy on the pitch and in the fan zone as well.’

More than 1,200 fans were expected to cram into the Fan Zone – a temporary giant marquee near Newcastle Central station – for the crunch knock-out.

England fans gather at the fans zone at Central Park Newcastle to watch the Three Lions take on Senegal in the second round of the 2022 World Cup. Pictured (L-R) are Jayde Guy, Jemma Herring and Emily Henson

England fans gather at the fans zone at Central Park Newcastle to watch the Three Lions take on Senegal in the second round of the 2022 World Cup. Pictured (L-R) are Jayde Guy, Jemma Herring and Emily Henson

Pictured: Nathan Hurley (L) and Ryan Cater (R) speak to MailOnline in Croydon, South London, hours before kickoff. Hurley, 25, said: 'What better Christmas present than England lifting the World Cup? Although there may be more chance of Santa squeezing down my chimney on Christmas Eve!'

Pictured: Nathan Hurley (L) and Ryan Cater (R) speak to MailOnline in Croydon, South London, hours before kickoff. Hurley, 25, said: ‘What better Christmas present than England lifting the World Cup? Although there may be more chance of Santa squeezing down my chimney on Christmas Eve!’

Pictured: (Left to right) Blair Paine, Luke Streeter and Glenn Fisk are preparing for tonight's match vs Senegal at a pub in Croydon

Pictured: (Left to right) Blair Paine, Luke Streeter and Glenn Fisk are preparing for tonight’s match vs Senegal at a pub in Croydon

Arriving at Box Park Croydon three hours before kick-off, friends Joe Vickers, 26, Charlotte Page, 24, Mel Lynch 25, Sarah White, 26 and 25-year-old Freya Clarke, wore Santa hats and said they hoped England would shine as bright as the fairy lights twinkling around the Christmas trees either side of the stairs leading down into the venue.

Charlotte, who wore a festive crown rather than a Santa hat, said: ‘I came here for the Wales game and it was a fantastic atmosphere so I’m hoping for more of the same tonight.

‘I’m pretty confident. Gareth Southgate has said that just because England are the favourites, doesn’t mean that the game is a foregone conclusion. I think he’ll set us up so we’re confident but in a way which doesn’t underestimate Senegal.’

Raucous football fans at Box Park famously launch pints of beer in the air when England score.

As supporters arrived through security, they were given ponchos to wear to avoid being soaked with booze.

Joe, from Chester, said: ‘To be honest, I’ll take being showered with beer all night long because it’ll mean England are scoring.

‘I don’t think we’ll take Senegal lightly, but you hope England will turn up and do the business.

‘It seems weird wearing a Santa hat and watching a World Cup game next to a Christmas tree with almost freezing temperatures outside… but if England win, we can start the festivities early!’

James, 43, from Birmingham, speaking to MailOnline from a Wetherspoon in Victoria, said: 'It's going to be a very tough game' but added 'we are going to win the World Cup'

James, 43, from Birmingham, speaking to MailOnline from a Wetherspoon in Victoria, said: ‘It’s going to be a very tough game’ but added ‘we are going to win the World Cup’

(L-R): England fans Vicky Armitage, Nicki Capacci, Nikki Wilson, Clare Shephard, Steve Armitage, Rob Capacci and Andy Shephard, at The Wellington in Waterloo, London

(L-R): England fans Vicky Armitage, Nicki Capacci, Nikki Wilson, Clare Shephard, Steve Armitage, Rob Capacci and Andy Shephard, at The Wellington in Waterloo, London

James, 43, from Birmingham, speaking to MailOnline from a Wetherspoon’s in Victoria, London, said: ‘It’s going to be a very tough game. They are a very physical team Senegal are, it’s going to be a very tough game. 

‘We need to play Phil Foden and Marcus Rashford,’ he added. ‘We need the same team that wins, like the last game. I am super excited, I think we are going to win and I’m predicting a 2-1 win to England. We are going to win the World Cup — it’s coming home.’

Andy Shephard, 54, soaking up the pre-match atmosphere at The Wellington in Waterloo, London, seemed less confident in England’s chances later in the competition: ‘I am looking forward to the match tonight, I think it will be a bit of a tough game but I reckon we will get a decent win. I think we will get a 2-1 win in extra time, that’s my prediction. 

‘I am not sure we can win right now, it depends on how the France and Poland match goes right now. If France beats Poland I am not sure we’ll get through.’

Glenn Fisk, 63, from Haywards Heath, Sussex, told MailOnline’s reporters in Croydon: ‘It’s bizarre watching the match with Christmas decorations on the wall and I think this is the coldest I’ve ever been for an England World Cup game – but I’m hoping the lads will warm our spirits later.

‘It’s going to be a tight game, but I think we may nick it 2-1. Hopefully, the confidence within the team is high and we can reach the quarter finals.’ 

Luke Streeter, 36, from East Grinstead, Sussex added: ‘I’ve really enjoyed this World Cup so far because there’s been so many surprises and it’s not just been the established sides who have gone through to the later stages.

‘England were pretty good in the group, we qualified with the best record so we’ve obviously got the talent and ability, but this is knockout football and anything can happen. We need to keep cool heads.

‘Rashford for me is looking brighter than he did at last year’s Euros so I think he may well be our key man tonight.’

A group of lads from Brighton enjoy a early drink at a pub near Tower Bridge ahead of tonight's round of 16 clash vs Senegal

A group of lads from Brighton enjoy a early drink at a pub near Tower Bridge ahead of tonight’s round of 16 clash vs Senegal

England fan Colin Evans poses with pooch Remus at the Grant Ames Pub in Birmingham

England fan Colin Evans poses with pooch Remus at the Grant Ames Pub in Birmingham

Chris Kingdon, Ian Davis, Brian Allen, Michael Ball, all in their 50s from Abingdon, had found a table early Sunday in Victoria. 

Chris was somewhat pessimistic, saying: ‘Can’t see England getting to the final, semi-finals they will get to though.’

He added: ‘We knew we were going to beat Wales the other day but I am not sure we have played with the quality to go through to the final yet. If we get through tonight and play France that will be great.’ 

But Ian offered a more positive outlook: ‘They will win tonight’s match, 2-1 prediction. 

‘The team does seem to be like a big family. But whatever Southgate does people knock him, they build him up and knock him down, despite what he’s achieved but that’s football.

‘They need to play Foden tonight, and Rashford. Once he gets Foden back in it will be alright.’

Dave Boeing, 59, outside Brewdog, Waterloo, agreed that Foden should get a start: ‘If he plays the right team, we are going to win. He’s got to play Foden, he’s got to play him for sure. I think it will end up being 3-1 but sadly I don’t think we will have much luck winning the cup, as much as I’d like them to.’ 

From left to right: Chris Kingdon, Ian Davis, Brian Allen, Michael Ball, all in their 50s from Abingdon in Wetherspoon's, ready for England's game with Senegal on Sunday

From left to right: Chris Kingdon, Ian Davis, Brian Allen, Michael Ball, all in their 50s from Abingdon in Wetherspoon’s, ready for England’s game with Senegal on Sunday

England fans Colin Evans and Pete Lennon getting ready for the England v Senegal game later at the Grant Ames Pub in Birmingham

England fans Colin Evans and Pete Lennon getting ready for the England v Senegal game later at the Grant Ames Pub in Birmingham

Pino Dervishi, 40, from London and Samantha Dixon, 31, from Birmingham, are pictured enjoying drinks in London ahead of tonight's match between England and Senegal

Pino Dervishi, 40, from London and Samantha Dixon, 31, from Birmingham, are pictured enjoying drinks in London ahead of tonight’s match between England and Senegal

At the Gunner Tavern in Newcastle city centre England fans were boozing well ahead of kick off.

College manager Chris Byrne had his cheeks painted with the St George Cross and an England flag draped across his shoulders.

Newcastle United fan Chris, 37, said: ‘Normally I bleed black and white for Newcastle but right now it’s red and white for England.

‘For me, it’s always country over club. The whole nation is united in wanting the same thing. I think it’ll be a 2-0 win but Senegal won’t make it easy.’

Football coach Keith Parsons, 44, added: ‘We started drinking at two thirty. I took tomorrow off sixth months ago knowing this was going to happen.

‘England will win 3-0. I’d love Harry Kane to score.’

Rob Henney, 30, who is the general manager of the Paxton’s Head in Belgravia said: ‘I’m feeling quite positive. I think we are going to do very well and we will progress. I think tonight we will win about 3-1. 

‘We are fully booked out in here tonight. People are going to be able to watch it on all three floors. It’s been crazy so far and now the knock out stages are underway it’s getting even busier. 

‘I’d like to see England get through to the semis, I think that it would be a good achievement after getting to the finals of the Euros but I would obviously like to see us go all the way this time.’

Rob Henney, 30, who is the general manager of the Paxton's Head in Belgravia said: 'I'm feeling quite positive. I think we are going to do very well and we will progress. I think tonight we will win about 3-1'

Rob Henney, 30, who is the general manager of the Paxton’s Head in Belgravia said: ‘I’m feeling quite positive. I think we are going to do very well and we will progress. I think tonight we will win about 3-1’

Moeen, 34, from London: ‘I think England really needs to buck up for this game. They need to do something outside the box to win because so far they haven’t been aggressive and no one has really been scared of England. 

‘Things have been going very easily for them. England has to be smart tonight, they haven’t had very strong competition so far in the world cup. Hopefully they will win this and get through to the last eight, and after that it’s anyone’s game really. 

‘I think England has a chance of winning 2-1, I think that it’ll be very close but let’s hope it goes our way.’

Pino Dervishi, 40, also from London, added: ‘Tonight England are going to win against Senegal because [Senegal’s] main player Mané won’t be playing. I think it will be quite an easy win, we will see them go through to play against France. 

‘Then whoever gets through out of England and France will win the World Cup. If England beat France they’ll go the final and win.’ 

England fans in Leeds wear festive outfits and hold the flag the night before England's game with Senegal on Sunday

England fans in Leeds wear festive outfits and hold the flag the night before England’s game with Senegal on Sunday

Saint George's Cross flags on display at the Kirby Estate, Bermondsey, ahead of the England vs Senegal football World Cup Clash

 Saint George’s Cross flags on display at the Kirby Estate, Bermondsey, ahead of the England vs Senegal football World Cup Clash

Pubs, bars and eateries will be rammed as punters pile in for tonight’s last-16 clash against the Lions of Taranga.

Experts predict a bumper £22m will be spent in the nation’s pubs and up to £175m in supermarkets for matchday essentials today. 

Some £53m will be spent on new TVs and electricals, £34,7 on sportswear and £11.2m on souvenirs, according to a vouchercodes.co.uk World Cup Spending Report.

The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) said pub-goers will guzzle 15 million pints today, with thousands expected to have booked off work tomorrow.

Around £94m is expected to be spent across the whole hospitality sector. 

Matt Todd, who runs the Wonston Arms in the Hampshire hamlet of Wonston, near Winchester, said a successful England World Cup run would be an ‘early Christmas present’ for small pubs.

The CAMRA pub-of-the-year has been a public house since the 1800s but faced an uncertain future during the pandemic, where it was unable to open for months because it does not serve food.

At Rossiter’s Organic Butchers in Birmingham, punters were lining up to buy special Bellingham bangers — named after the England prodigy, 19

At Rossiter’s Organic Butchers in Birmingham, punters were lining up to buy special Bellingham bangers — named after the England prodigy, 19

Blues fan Steve, 55, said: 'Everyone loves the Bellingham bangers — except for the Aston Villa fans. The sausages have a peppery kick to them — and we hope Jude will be peppering the Senegalese goal'

Blues fan Steve, 55, said: ‘Everyone loves the Bellingham bangers — except for the Aston Villa fans. The sausages have a peppery kick to them — and we hope Jude will be peppering the Senegalese goal’

Mr Todd, 54, said: ‘The World Cup is running over what would normally be our quietest weeks of the year.

‘The first three England games saw our sales 320% up on this time last year.

‘A good cup run will mean tills ringing louder and longer for me as a publican. The knockouts will drive more people into pubs craving that big match atmosphere.

‘Our cellar is stocked full of beer for tonight and the phone has not stopped ringing with people wanting seats.

‘It feels like this one is going to be a whopper — and it’s only the last 16.’ 

At Rossiter’s Organic Butchers in Birmingham, punters were lining up to buy special Bellingham bangers, named after the England prodigy. 

The sausages – which contain Gloucester old spot pork spiced with pepper and chilli – were the brainchild of master butcher Steve Rossiter, 55.

Bellingham played for Birmingham City before making a big-money move to German club Borussia Dortmund in 2020.

Blues fan Steve, 55, said: ‘Everyone loves the Bellingham bangers — except for the Aston Villa fans.

‘The sausages have a peppery kick to them — and we hope Jude will be peppering the Senegalese goal.

‘Jude is a proper West Midlands lad and we are all so proud of how far he has gone.’

England fans line the streets in the Souq area of Doha ahead of tonight's match with Senegal

England fans line the streets in the Souq area of Doha ahead of tonight’s match with Senegal

England fan Carl is pictured with Senegal fans in Doha. Senegalese football fans based in the UK have decided where their loyalties lie as they gear up for Sunday's World Cup clash

England fan Carl is pictured with Senegal fans in Doha. Senegalese football fans based in the UK have decided where their loyalties lie as they gear up for Sunday’s World Cup clash

England fans Tom Egerton (left) and Tom King (right), at the Cabana Hop Garden in Doha

England fans Tom Egerton (left) and Tom King (right), at the Cabana Hop Garden in Doha

UK ambassador to Senegal says atmosphere is incredible in ‘football mad’ country

The UK ambassador to Senegal has described the amazing atmosphere the upcoming match has created in the ‘football mad’ country, as well as the ‘banter’ it has generated between foreign ministers about who will win.

Juliette John said that England and Senegal are united through their ‘passion for football’.

‘Senegal is about as football mad, if not more, than the UK is, so this is really the top thing on people’s minds here,’ Ms John said from Dakar, Senegal.

‘Everyone has been watching the matches with bated breath here. In fact, some people are so intense about it, they can’t even watch the match.’

As a self-professed football fan, she will be watching the match and hosting at her residence a small number of Senegalese and British Government representatives and friends.

‘Obviously it will be a national tragedy if England beat Senegal, and vice versa, but I think generally the atmosphere is very positive.’

She added: ‘I think it will be very tight.

‘The Senegalese team is very strong defensively, the English team are very strong in attacking midfield.

‘It will be interesting to see what both teams do, their tactics and who they put on the pitch.

‘Obviously I want to say that England’s going to win, but I think it’s going to be an interesting match regardless.’

The Chestergate pub in Stockport meanwhile has changed its name to The Southgate in honour of the England boss. 

Pub manager Stephanie Armstrong, 34, is expecting a full house well before the 7pm kick off.

She said: ‘There’s going to be a brilliant atmosphere in here. I can’t wait.

‘We’ve got loads of screens showing the footie and we’ve ordered extra beer in. It’s not going to be a usual Sunday night.’

According to data consultancy CGA Insight, England’s first World Cup game with Iran netted an 62% uplift in beer sales.

Spending in pubs, bars and clubs rose by 20.5% for the Wales game compared with the same day in 2021.

UK Hospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: ‘Big, televised sporting events always provide a boost to pubs and this comes at a particularly helpful time, as businesses struggle to cover rising costs and footfall decreases with consumers tightening their spending.

‘Pubs will be putting in a huge amount of time, effort and resource to offer the ideal place to watch the football but many are still suffering from a lack of staff, so we’d encourage all visitors to be patient with bar staff while they work during one of the busiest times of the year.’

Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer and Pub Association said: ‘Pubs were hoping for a boost to business during this World Cup and so far, the beer has been flowing, and fans have been showing up to cheer on England.

‘The tournament has been filling up pubs on days that otherwise might be quieter, and we’re hoping that trend continues in the next couple of weeks.

‘It’s been a tough year for our industry, and we know people are feeling the pinch but we’re really hoping fans continue to turn out to support two great British institutions by toasting to the Three Lions at their local pub. We’ll be keeping everything crossed because when England do well, so do our pubs!’

In Doha, England fans started gathering early in bars located in and around the city’s four and five star hotels as they knocked back the pints in preparation for the last 16 knock out clash while others hit the city’s malls for some shopping and to enjoy the air conditioning.

Tim Reed, 63 from Ipswich, Suffolk said: ‘We’re going to win 2-1. I’m really looking forward to the match and am getting very excited about it.

‘The only problem is that I’m supposed to fly home after the game so if England do get to the quarter-finals I might have to fly back. It’s been a fantastic tournament so far and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.’

Kevin Cassidy, 43 from Leeds said: ‘I follow England all over the world and at last we’re looking like a team that can win something. We’ve come close recently but this time I think we’re going to do it.

‘My prediction is a 2-1 victory. But whatever happens it’s been a fantastic experience being in Qatar. I’ve loved every minute of it.’

His friend Darren Sutcliffe, 55 also from Leeds added: ‘I’m not feeling as confident as some of the other England fans but I think we’ll win on penalties.

‘There’s not going to be as many England fans in the ground as there normally are at big games so it’s going to feel a bit strange. But I’m praying that it’s going to be a great night.’

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Read more at DailyMail.co.uk



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