Not 4 minutes into England’s quarter-final conflict with Ukraine, and the crowds in Trafalgar Square are out of their seats as Harry Kane had the ball behind the web 1,000 miles away in Rome’s Stadio Olimpico.
An announcement booms out of the large audio system on the London fan zone reminding supporters they’re at a “socially distanced event” and may return to their tables of six. Those pleas would show to be considerably optimistic as a flurry of second-half objectives on a sunny Saturday night whipped the group into the type of get together environment hardly ever seen prior to now 12 months and a half of the coronavirus pandemic.
As Harry Maguire heads one other one residence simply after the second half will get underway, followers are out of their seats and into every others arms, knocking drinks onto the bottom as they hug in celebration.
Kane follows carefully behind with England’s third aim and there’s no stopping the jubilant crowd now as they rush out of their chairs to rejoice beneath one of many big screens.
The sound on the footage being beamed from Rome is immediately muted and the ecstatic followers are warned the feed will probably be minimize completely in the event that they don’t return to their tables.
Any lingering nervous pleasure lengthy gone and changed with pure pleasure as substitute Jordan Henderson makes it 4-0.
Sean Duffy, who has travelled from northwest London to look at the match together with his 12-year-old son Liam, describes the environment as “bonkers”.
“My son is just made up because we are in Trafalgar Square watching this,” he tells The Independent. “I don’t know when we are going to ever have this again.”
“I’m nearly 50 so I’ve seen England crash and burn so many times,” he provides. “Liam’s expectations are based on the World Cup in 2018 – but I can remember Italia 90 and Euro 96. I love the fact Liam doesn’t feel that.
“This is wonderful, it’s bonkers. I know how special it is sitting in Trafalgar Square with a big game of football going on.”
Liam, who hopes to play for Real Madrid or Celtic himself sooner or later, advised his dad he “wanted to be there when the beer gets thrown”.
“We are going to win,” he says bluntly when requested how earlier than the match how he believes England will carry out. His confidence, it proves, was not misplaced.
“They look like they are taking it a bit more like business,” says Frazer Norman, who has travelled up on the Tube from Bermondsey, in southeast London, with older brother Kenny.
“The way it’s gone, the team has grown in confidence … despite the fact there’s so much pressure that comes with being an international player for England.”
The 24-year-old says he could be getting “back on the Northern line then the Jubilee line in a very poor mood and going straight to bed” if England misplaced, however after Kane places England forward inside 240 seconds any niggling doubts start to vanish.
Marc Ghossein, one other supporter within the fan zone, mentioned: “It’s an amazing feeling. We have been waiting for this for 25 years now. We’re almost at the semi-final, it’s coming home. England is going to win this year.”
His good friend Ellie Mhanna added: “England is going to win this year’s Euros for sure. They’ve been consistent and they deserve it.”
“I think it could well be their time to bring it home,” says Ian Gray, 51, who’s watching the match with spouse Kat.
“It’s great to be here, I haven’t done anything like this before. It’s quite amazing.
“I think they’ve done so well to get this far in the tournament, I think they deserve to win – the way they’ve been playing is fantastic.”
Kat, 45, initially from Germany, had divided loyalities once they confronted the Three Lions and misplaced on Tuesday
“It was kind of hard but I was so happy for England,” she says. “I think it could just be England’s year.
“I think they’ve got a good chance of making it to the finals but there’s still a long way to go and each match needs to be taken seriously. I think everyone who makes it to this stage has an equal chance of it going their way.”
And what about England successful their semi-final match, and presumably even the entire match?
“The fact we beat Germany the other day, we put old wounds to bed,” says Charlotte Adejayan, 55, from Wandsworth, south London. “But I think the media has kept it quite on the down low with the ‘coming home’. Let’s just do the games and then if we get to the final… but for now let’s not.”