England v Germany: Excitement builds at Sheffield's pubs ahead of 5pm kickoff
Crowds are simmering with excitement all along Ecclesall Road this afternoon ahead of England’s nailbiting match against Germany at 5pm.
Pub gardens up and down the major Sheffield street have been building and building since as early as 7.30am in time for kickoff.
It's given today’s most ardent fans time to reflect on if they are in for a night of celebration or a mournful afterparty.
"If we win this one it’s going to be easy,” said one fan, Finlay, outside the Nursery Tavern at 2.50pm. “Because after that we never win anyway.”
His friend Charlie countered: “Forget that, it’s a good positive feeling among us.”
At the time, Finlay and his mates were next in line to get into the at the busy sports pub, after arriving an hour earlier. Meanwhile, the queue for the Tavern had stretched to well over 100 people down the road.
“I’m thinking we’ll go 1-0 and hold out until the end,” said Finlay. “Or else we’re going to win it in the 90th minute.
"I feel every time we go into extra time we’ve slipped up against Germany.”
The nail biting match today carries a lot of history, after England was kicked out after a loss to penalties in 1996 – the crucial one of which was missed by today’s manager, Gareth Southgate.
It is also the first time the two teams have faced off competitively since their 2010 World Cup defeat.
"Forget history,” said fan Callum in the beer garden of Champs Sports Bar & Grill. He and his mates had been posted up at the pub since 7.30am. “It’s going to be 3-1 England.
"There’s nothing to be nervous about,” agreed his friend Joel. “We just don’t want penalties.”
General manager at Champs Rob Collins said: “It’s a big positive day. We’re fully booked and everyone is having a good time.
"We’ve needed something like this. We’ve all been cooped up and this is lifting everyone’s spirits.”
The two teams are battling today for a place in the quarter-finals.
Another fan, Tor, in the pub garden of the Porter Brook confidently said: “If we win today there’s no reason we can’t make the finals.”