Glasses were raised and beer flowed as South Yorkshire football fans celebrated England reaching the World Cup finals.
Needing a win to qualify, goals by Wayne Rooney and captain Steven Gerrard saw the Three Lions to a 2-0 victory over Poland and qualification to South America.
Reporter Rachel Dixon joined football fans through 90 minutes of tension at the Walkabout bar in Sheffield city centre, watching on TV as England looked to book their place in Brazil next summer.
The crowd shouted, clapped and jumped their way around the bar.
Through the lines of beer guts, a small group of young men quietly drank their beer and scratched their beards through a nail-biting match.
Shouts of ‘oh come on’ and other less polite chants could be heard from the street as a frustrated and increasingly inebriated crowd began to fear the worse.
Fortunately, Wayne Rooney settled some South Yorkshire nerves and helped England to half-time with a one–nil lead.
ne local could not be less elated – he was not a bitter Polish supporter but a middle-aged man, angry with his friend who had earlier stopped him placing
a bet on Rooney to score first.
“I told you, you stopped me putting a bet on, you idiot.”
Another pint quickly consoled his dismay.
The overall England performance may have disappointed a few, but the size of the screen the fans were watching the match on certainly did not, with a screen many a Premier League footballer would even be envious of.
Shaking heads, jeers of abuse and some of encouragement filled most of the second half as these Sheffield fans downed their last few pints and looked forward to the World Cup finals.
With just minutes to go, all the tension disappeared as a second goal secured England’s journey to the World Cup.
The whole pub in unity screamed in elation, ale was flying in the air and shirts were off.
The smiles said it all as the hordes in the venue were on their feet, itching to hear that final whistle.
Then came the words the fans had waited for.
“The boys are off to Brazil.” And the fans are off to the bar for a celebratory pint or two.
Pictures by Steve Ellis. To order photographs, call 0114 252 1299.
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