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England Band from Sheffield enjoying World Cup party in Russia after Panama thrashing

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England fans in Russia are enjoying the World Cup party after today's goal-fest against Panama, and none more so than this trio from Sheffield.

Steve Holmes, John Hemmingham and Steve Wood are all members of the England Band which has followed the national side to six World Cups, providing the soundtrack to the occasional high and many more lows during that time.

Sheffielders Steve Wood, John Hemmingham and Steve Holmes, of the England Band, in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia (pic: Aaron Chown/PA Wire)

Sheffielders Steve Wood, John Hemmingham and Steve Holmes, of the England Band, in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia (pic: Aaron Chown/PA Wire)

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Having grown more accustomed to cheering up disconsolate fans with their music, struggling to make themselves heard above the cheers as England thrashed Panama to make the knock-out stages must have been a welcome change for them.

But they were enjoying themselves long before today's match, they say, with the friendly welcome so far in stark contrast to the dire predictions of danger which put so many supporters off travelling.

Mr Holmes, aged 47, from Stannington, said: "It's brilliant - it's so different to what we thought. It's definitely friendlier than when we've been to Russia before."

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He was particularly impressed with Nizhny Novgorod, where England's second match took place today, adding: "It's great, fantastic sights to see, great food, great people. It's really good, they can't do enough for you to project their country."

Asked why they thought fewer England fans than usual had travelled, Mr Hemmingham, aged 55, from Hillsborough, suggested 'fake news' about what awaited them might be to blame.

But Mr Holmes said cost was probably a factor for many, with the trio spending around £20,000 on their trip.

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The band are optimistic about the Three Lions' hopes of progression, with all three believing the team could make the final.

"England's going all the way - have you not heard it?" said Mr Hemmingham.