ENGLAND fans in Portsmouth are daring to dream after the Three Lions secured their place in the World Cup semi-finals.
A duo of headed goals from Harry Maguire and Dele Alli commanded the squad’s 2-0 victory over Sweden this evening in Samara, Russia.
As the action unfolded, supporters in their droves filtered into city pubs and bars showing the game – before leading jubilant scenes out in to the streets once the full-time whistle was blown.
No truer was this than in Southsea, where the Fat Fox pub in Albert Road was packed to the rafters.
Joined by a trio of mates, Neil Doherty enjoyed an unrivalled view of the match at a table within touching distance of the boozer’s big screen – the prime position he has claimed for every one of England’s 2018 World Cup fixtures so far.
After victory was sealed, the 44-year-old from Southsea said: ‘There are no words to describe this feeling – it has been a long time coming.
‘I haven’t seen an England team play like this since Italia 90.’
And with momentum in the nation’s favour, pal Adam Fryatt, 37, said he’s got no choice but to hold down that lucky table for the next game at 7pm on Wednesday.
‘Who could’ve ever imagined these scenes – it’s coming home. As an avid England fan this is unbelievable,’ he said.
‘We’ll be right back here queuing for that spot next week. We wouldn’t want to taint the boys.’
Celebrations erupted at the Fat Fox after Maguire’s goal in the 30th minute, only to be outdone 13 minutes into the second half when Alli headed home and dismissed all doubt.
The moments of unbridled joy were a turning point for some pubgoers.
Leigh Way, 32, said: ‘I have become an England fan because of this tournament.
‘I’ve always been more into rugby, but the team owned that game and there is a feeling of hope in the air.’
England’s semi-final opponents will be confirmed by 10pm tonight, when either World Cup hosts Russia or Croatia emerge as winners from the last quarter-final in Sochi.
If the Three Lions go on to win that game, some will fulfil a pledge to journey across the continent to watch them in the World Cup final.
Mark Godfrey from Portsmouth is one of them.
The 54-year-old from North End said: ‘The boys did so well today – we can start to believe now.
‘Anything can happen in a semi-final and if we win, I will go to Russia. I can promise you that.’
Watch the roaring scenes inside the Fat Fox after England’s win in our Facebook video, here.