'Elated' fans in Portsmouth celebrate 2-0 victory for England
VICTORIOUS roars erupted from Portsmouth pubs tonight as ‘elated’ fans started to believe it really could be coming home this year.
As the final whistle on the hotly anticipated England versus Germany match sounded, Lions supporters leapt to their feet unable to contain their excitement.
The two-nil knockout win for England at Wembley Stadium has earned them a place in the quarter-finals of the Euros on Saturday.
For mum and daughter Nicky Fairhurst and Courtney Swan, from Southsea, who watched the game from The Kings pub in Albert Road, it was an extra special event as it was the first time the pair had been able to go out together since the pandemic.
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Footie lover Nicky, 43, said: 'That feeling when that first goal was scored for England was absolutely amazing.
'We've really enjoyed the whole match. It's so nice to be properly out in a pub.'
22-year-old Courtney agreed. 'Raheem Sterling is quality,’ she said.
‘Football is definitely coming home.'
Jack Ryves, 22, had travelled from Southampton to watch the game with his friends.
He said: ‘I am absolutely elated. The result is incredible. I will be going home very happy tonight.’
His friend, 21-year-old student James Evans - from Portsmouth - added: ‘There was a huge sigh of relief when the first goal was scored.
‘But then to score another goal against one of the best teams in the world is simply amazing.’
And for others the night marked a momentous occasion for other reasons.
19-year-old Alex Marriott and his friends from Portsmouth had all turned 18 during the height of the pandemic and were unable to celebrate properly.
Speaking during half-time Alex said: ‘Turning 18 should be one of the biggest years of your life but we weren’t able to go out. This is the first time we’ve been able to come out all together.
‘Tonight we are facing one of our biggest rivals in Europe so the atmosphere is brilliant and it’s just great to be here with everyone.’
His friend Brad Seaman, 19, added: ‘It’s definitely coming home tonight.
‘It’s just nice to be out as a group like this though.’
Landlord of The Kings, Sean Muns, hired a second projector screen specifically to allow fans to watch the game upstairs as well as on the ground floor.
He said: ‘The atmosphere is great, everyone’s been having a good time.’
Earlier on in the night, at the Honest Politician pub, in Elm Grove, fans were ‘nervous’ about the outcome of the game as neither team scored within the first half.
University of Portsmouth student Luke Stallard, 19, said: 'I am excited even though I’m not sure if we will win. The atmosphere is great.'
His friend Lauren O'Neill, 20, said: 'It's better watching it here than at home. I've come to this pub for a lot of the games and the atmosphere has always been good.'
For Southsea resident Tom Pottle, 23, it was a welcome change from some of the tougher lockdown rules.
He said: 'I'm really happy to be here, it's nice to be out without all the restrictions that we have had.'
Ellie Harrison, 24, from Old Portsmouth added: 'I'm very excited, it's a big occasion. It's great to be out with my friends for it.'
And Henna Tank, 25, from Southsea said: 'I was a bit nervous in terms of who will win but it is really exciting still.'
Students Sam Tudgay and Hope Smithers were also enjoying the energy of the other fans.
Sam, 21, said: 'Whatever the outcome the atmosphere is great and I'd rather be watching it here than at home.'
22-year-old Hope said: ‘It’s nice to be able to do this again in a pub.
‘If we can beat Germany tonight I think we have got a chance at winning the whole tournament.’
Steve and Wendy Doughty had journeyed from Hertfordshire to watch the football with their grandson Callum Brooks.
76-year-old Steve said: ‘He hasn’t come our way for ages so we wanted to see him.
‘I have been enjoying the football so far, I wouldn’t watch it otherwise.’
21-year-old Callum, who lives in Southsea, added: ‘I haven’t stopped watching football since we came out of lockdown, it’s been great.’
General manager of the Honest Politician, Jake Whitehead, said it was ‘lovely’ too see people back in the pubs in their numbers.
‘It’s been so nice to welcome back our regular customers as well as everyone else.
‘It’s that feeling that we’re returning to a little bit of normality.’
England will now face either Sweden or Ukraine in the quarter-finals in Rome on July 3.