England fans roar on Three Lions in Southsea pubs as supporters start to believe after 4-0 thrashing over Ukraine
FANS were starting to believe it could be coming home as England served up a roaring display to stroll through to the semi-finals of Euro 2020 after thrashing Ukraine 4-0.
Having dispatched of old foe Germany in the round of 16, it seemed the Three Lions biggest hurdle in the quarter-final tie in Rome was complacency.
But a focused display that delivered a thumping win meant Gareth Southgate’s men cruised into the last four where they will play Denmark.
Win that game and then only Italy or Spain stand in the way of England’s first major trophy since the World Cup in 1966 - at Wembley Stadium.
Supporters packed the streets and pubs in Southsea and cheered on the team - and are now truly starting to believe.
Tensions were eased after Harry Kane’s clinical finish inside the first two minutes. It was a similar story in the second half as Harry Maguire nodded home straight after the restart to ease fears further.
By the time Kane scored the third it was party time as chants and cheers rang out inside The Kings pub on Albert Road.
Andy Mann and Robert Nockemann, who were both at Wembley Stadium to watch England beat Germany, believe the team can go all the way.
Andy, 57, of Waterlooville, said: ‘I’m happy with the result but we could play better. We were quite counter attacking. I would like to see us more on the front foot. We will need to be better to beat Denmark.
‘But we're at Wembley so that gives us a great chance. There’s no reason we can’t do it.
‘We might never have a better chance. I’m worried about Italy though, they look a handful and are very streetwise.’
Robert, 57, of Farlington, said: ‘I’m happy with the result but I think we can go up a level.
‘We can win it. We’ve got a strong defence and lots of good attackers so why not?’
Stephen McCloskey, 58, of Southsea, said: ‘I’m very positive we can get to the final. We looked great in attack and scored four goals.
‘Even then we kept on pushing and were not just trying to defend. There’s been lots of good England players over the years but this looks a strong team.
‘We’ve beaten Denmark before so can beat them again.’
Pompey fan Dan Almond, who lives in Rome, was at the game. ‘It was a great night. I was getting lots of messages from Pompey fans saying they were glad someone was there who supports the club,’ he said.
‘The England crowd was a bit different to normal games with it more expat and family based. There were even chants of “I’ve never been to a match before”. But there was a good turnout, probably up to 6,000 English fans. There were more Ukrainian fans.
‘I think it could be an England-Italy final, which would put me in a bit of a quandary living out here. I think England can win it but whether they will or not I’m not sure.’
Lorien Nairn, 29, who is Scottish, was even behind England. ‘I’ll be happy if they win. I don’t want them to lose,’ she said.
Mick Dennett, 60, of Southsea, said: ‘It was quite easy, we dominated. We looked comfortable on the ball and like we were enjoying it. It’s good Kane scored again. I’m a bit worried about Italy.’
Landlord Sean Muns said: ‘It’s been a good atmosphere. We have a lot of the same people coming back for the matches so everyone’s quite well behaved.
‘People are good with social distancing. We give people a few seconds to celebrate after we score.
‘There’s been a lot preparation work but we all want England to do well. It’s good for the country and good for business and feels like a bit of normality.
‘We’re already fully booked for next week.’
Before the game the atmosphere had been one of cautious optimism.
London friends visiting Southsea at the 5th Hants Volunteer Arms, Jack Gregory, Daniel Forester and Nile Claire, all 22, were not getting carried away.
‘We should win but you never know…this is England,’ Jack said.
Nile said: ‘England can be a bit boring but will probably scrape a 1-0 win.’
Daniel added: ‘I’m worried, I think Ukraine could beat us.’
They shouldn’t have worried.
Meanwhile, Curtis Morgan, 24, outside the Phoenix pub, said: ‘I think England will win. But whatever happens it will be noisy after the game.’
He was right.
Roll on Denmark on Wednesday.