Pensive: England fans react at boxpark Wembley as the play failed to burst to life in first half

England and Wales fans are roaring on their sides back home during tonight’s ‘Battle of Britain’ in the World Cup.

Jubilant workers had bragged of swift exits from the office, with many heading straight to the pub on a day when some £215million is expected to be spent on booze.

Generous bosses allowed staff to be flexible in the hours running up to the much-anticipated clash in Qatar, with some even offering to provide a £25 bar tab for drinks and food, and paracetamol for the inevitable sore heads tomorrow morning.

Pensive: England fans react at boxpark Wembley as the play failed to burst to life in first half

Pensive: England fans react at boxpark Wembley as the play failed to burst to life in first half

Fans in Cardiff watch Wales v England at 4TheFans Fan Park, Cardiff, Wales, at 0-0 by 7.30pm

Fans in Cardiff watch Wales v England at 4TheFans Fan Park, Cardiff, Wales, at 0-0 by 7.30pm

Kai Harris, 24, a Walthamstow Security Manager said: ‘I’ve been born and raised here so obviously we’re rooting for England.

‘Expecting good results today – I think we’ve got a good chance.

‘With the USA we expected a better result. – we didn’t get that but hopefully we can pull it through.’

‘They could go quite far this year I believe. It’s the World Cup – , a lot of unexpected games a lot of unexpected scores. I reckon we’ve at least got a chance to go to the finals.’

Fans watch the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group B football match between Wales and England at the BUDX FIFA Fan Festival at Outernet in London

Fans watch the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group B football match between Wales and England at the BUDX FIFA Fan Festival at Outernet in London

England fans look on at the Morningside Arena, Leicester, during a screening of the FIFA World Cup Group B match between Wales and England

England fans look on at the Morningside Arena, Leicester, during a screening of the FIFA World Cup Group B match between Wales and England

England football fans ahead of the England vs Wales game at the Luna Springs in Digbeth, Birmingham

England football fans ahead of the England vs Wales game at the Luna Springs in Digbeth, Birmingham

Sing when your winning? England fans warm up their voices ahead of the crunch crash

Sing when your winning? England fans warm up their voices ahead of the crunch crash

Fans in Manchester watch Wales v England ahead of the kick-off in Qatar at 7pm this evening

Fans in Manchester watch Wales v England ahead of the kick-off in Qatar at 7pm this evening

England football fans ahead of the England vs Wales game at the Luna Springs in Digbet

England football fans ahead of the England vs Wales game at the Luna Springs in Digbet

Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions have won the last six matches against their rivals, but Rob Page’s men, led by talisman Gareth Bale, need their first win over England since 1984 and other results to go their way as their last 16 hopes hang by a thread. 

Just before kick off the crowd at the BoxPark venue in London were treated to a performance from Atomic Kitten stars Liz McClarnon and Natasha Hamilton.

They danced and sang on the stage with a cut out of England manager Gareth Southgate as fans chanted ‘It’s coming home, it’s coming home.’

Manchester awaits a goal: fans were waiting a breakthrough as the kick off heralded match

Manchester awaits a goal: fans were waiting a breakthrough as the kick off heralded match

Cheers! Fans were having a great time before the match had even kicked off in Qatar

Cheers! Fans were having a great time before the match had even kicked off in Qatar

Take your hat off to them! These fans in Newcastle coordinated outfits for the evening

Take your hat off to them! These fans in Newcastle coordinated outfits for the evening 

All smiles for England: Fans got in the drinks for the big match up in the North East tonight

All smiles for England: Fans got in the drinks for the big match up in the North East tonight

Aman Lakhwani, 19, Caspar Brown, 18, and Tyler Nash, also 19, told MailOnline they’d be watching the game on almost no sleep after getting off their 40-hour flight from Sydney this morning.

The trio made a beeline straight for Wetherspoons in Victoria station, but watched England take on Wales from the fan area in Box Park, Croydon.

‘If they lose to Wales it’s just going to be depressing because no-one wants Wales to win, apart from Welsh people,’ Brown said.

While a loss would be a ‘depressing’ outcome after travelling so far, Brown said he wouldn’t be too heartbroken.

There was no shortage of facepainting at Boxpark in Wembley for the big match tonight

There was no shortage of facepainting at Boxpark in Wembley for the big match tonight

England fans enjoy a pre-match pint as they prepare to watch the World Cup final group match at Central Park in Newcastle, with England's game against Wales starting at 7pm.

England fans enjoy a pre-match pint as they prepare to watch the World Cup final group match at Central Park in Newcastle, with England’s game against Wales starting at 7pm.

Poised for the win: These three woman looked ready to cheers on Gareth Southgate's men

Poised for the win: These three woman looked ready to cheers on Gareth Southgate’s men 

Cheers for England! These two fans were ready to support Harry Kane and the team at 7pm

Cheers for England! These two fans were ready to support Harry Kane and the team at 7pm

What do England and Wales need to do to qualify for the last 16 of the Qatar World Cup? 

England 

England remain in charge of the group but are vulnerable to a defeat in a final match with Wales in which form could go out of the window.

Their 6-2 thrashing of Iran has put them in control of their destiny.

If they avoid a 4-0 loss to Wales then they will be through. 

A win or a draw will see them top the group. The Three Lions can even finish first with a defeat to Wales – as long as the margin is less than four.

Lose and, if the Iran-USA match has a winner, England are relegated to second spot in the group and in all likelihood a second round meeting with Holland, who should top Group A with a win over Qatar.

Wales

The Welsh have the slimmest of chances to qualify – but will need to play with more quality and some luck,  

To qualify, Wales must beat England and hope for a draw between the United States and Iran.

If either the USA or Iran win, then they need to beat England by four clear goals.

The USA have to beat Iran to go to the last 16. Iran only need to draw if Wales can’t beat England.

‘An England loss doesn’t necessarily mean they’re guaranteed to be out of the group… Southgate knows what he’s doing.’ 

David Hawthorne, 39, the deputy manager of Sports Bar and Grill in Victoria Station said he’s confident of a win for England.

‘I think we’ll win. We’d have to lose 4-0 to get knocked out so I’m quite confident we’ll go through,’ he said.

‘I was born over here so I’ve always been a big England fan.’

While he’s excited for the match, Mr Hawthorne is bracing himself for a busy night in the bar.

‘The last England game it was busy and there were a few disasters which happened. Bits breaking down and going all over the place,’ he said.

‘They don’t get really rowdy here to be honest. It’s a good atmosphere – you get everyone up cheering and they do enjoy themselves.’

Other fans fear they won’t remember the game after starting too early on the beers.

In Hull, electrician James Halford admitted that by 3pm he was already on his tenth drink of the day. 

Clutching a vodka and orange in the city’s Yates bar, James, 24, said: ‘At this rate I won’t even make the game. And if I do, I’m not sure I’m going to be able to remember it. 

‘We started on the booze first thing this morning – I took the day off work. ‘But I’m meant to be in tomorrow at 7.30am. I’m not looking forward to it at all.’ 

Pal Tom Sweeney, 25, added: ‘We went to a Kasabian gig in Sheffield last night, so we haven’t really stopped drinking since then.

‘We’re having a great time. And Gareth Southgate is going to make it even better later.’ 

Meanwhile, fans arriving at Croydon’s famous Box Park were looking forward to a few beers and staying dry after being handed ponchos.

Time to play: England fans bristled with anticipation ahead of the Qatar kick-off this evening

Time to play: England fans bristled with anticipation ahead of the Qatar kick-off this evening

England and Wales fans are leaving work early to pack pubs on both sides of the border ahead of tonight's 'Battle of Britain' in the World Cup

England and Wales fans are leaving work early to pack pubs on both sides of the border ahead of tonight’s ‘Battle of Britain’ in the World Cup

Scott Smith (left) and Sam Marks (right) raise their glass at Boxpark in Croydon this afternoon

Scott Smith (left) and Sam Marks (right) raise their glass at Boxpark in Croydon this afternoon

Fans wear ponchos that are handed out on entry to Box Park Croydon, to keep dry when beer goes flying when a goal is scored

Fans wear ponchos that are handed out on entry to Box Park Croydon, to keep dry when beer goes flying when a goal is scored

David Hawthorne (pictured), 39, the deputy manager of Sports Bar and Grill in Victoria Station said he's confident of a win for England

David Hawthorne (pictured), 39, the deputy manager of Sports Bar and Grill in Victoria Station said he’s confident of a win for England

Others have travelled from as far as Australia for the match. Aman Lakhwani (left), 19, Caspar Brown (right), 18, and Tyler Nash (back right), also 19, told MailOnline they'd be watching the game on almost no sleep after getting off their 40-hour flight from Sydney this morning

Others have travelled from as far as Australia for the match. Aman Lakhwani (left), 19, Caspar Brown (right), 18, and Tyler Nash (back right), also 19, told MailOnline they’d be watching the game on almost no sleep after getting off their 40-hour flight from Sydney this morning

England Supporters at BOXPARK Croydon watch the England vs Wales World Cup clash

England Supporters at BOXPARK Croydon watch the England vs Wales World Cup clash

Boxpark Croydon was getting busy as fans massed to cheer on the Three Lions against Wales

Boxpark Croydon was getting busy as fans massed to cheer on the Three Lions against Wales

The south London venue is famous for its beer sodden celebrations with drinks flying everywhere in celebration and sold out the £20 a head 1200 capacity within minutes of going online.

Emergency responder Alice Gill, 31, and her boyfriend bank manager Joe Murphy, 32, were the first punters through the door.

Clutching a pint, Arsenal fan Alice told MailOnline: ‘I’m really looking forward to the game and fingers crossed we will win and go into the knockout stage.

‘We’ve got ponchos with the tickets and we may have to use them because we’ve seen the pictures and it looks quite lively.’

England v Wales World Cup fans ahead of the match with flags, beers and masks in Birmingham Grant Arms pub

England v Wales World Cup fans ahead of the match with flags, beers and masks in Birmingham Grant Arms pub

An England fan and a Wales fan pose in Qatar before tonight's World Cup Group B clash

An England fan and a Wales fan pose in Qatar before tonight’s World Cup Group B clash

Fan in Birmingham Bartons Arms Pub

Fan in Birmingham Bartons Arms Pub

Generous bosses have allowed their staff to be flexible in the hours running up to the much-anticipated clash in Qatar, with some even offering to provide a £25 bar tab for drinks and food, and paracetamol for the inevitable sore heads tomorrow morning

Pictured: Ross Kayley at the Fox Inn in Oswestry, who predicts England will win 4-2

Pictured: Ross Kayley at the Fox Inn in Oswestry, who predicts England will win 4-2

Fans head to the stadium before the massive match tonight in Qatar's World Cup tournament

Fans head to the stadium before the massive match tonight in Qatar’s World Cup tournament

England fans enjoy the pre match atmosphere prior to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group B match between Wales and England at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium

England fans enjoy the pre match atmosphere prior to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group B match between Wales and England at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium

Facepainting was observed in Qatar as a proud fan was daubed with the St George flag tonight

Facepainting was observed in Qatar as a proud fan was daubed with the St George flag tonight

Joe, who took a half day of work, added: ‘It’s our first time here and I’m excited to see what the atmosphere is like. If it’s anything like you see from pictures and TV it will be great.

‘If England win it’s going to be mad in here and I’m sure they can do it.’

Aaron Broomfield, 28, and his partner Rebecca Sinclair, both from Sunderland, took three days off work to travel to London to experience the fanfare.

While Ms Sinclair isn’t as diehard a fan as her partner, she’s still supporting England. 

Mr Broomfield said he missed the last World Cup in 2018 due to illness and now wants to make up for lost time.

‘Football is a massive part of my life. I follow it religiously… I think we should have a strong chance. I think we should have more than enough for them based on what I’ve seen of Wales so far. I know we weren’t that great against USA but we will still have enough for Wales.

‘I think he (Southgate) should lead us to victory today. I’m not sure going forward if he’s the right man.’

Mr Broomfield said: ‘If we lose, I would be annoyed and devastated. I don’t think we should be getting beat today.’ If England were to win the entire competition, Mr Broomfield said it’d be ‘the best day of his life’.

Darren Adams (pictured), 50, electric manager from Crawley, West Sussex, he has a wife and three older children who have either moved out or are at university. He says he is '100%' supporting England tonight

Darren Adams (pictured), 50, electric manager from Crawley, West Sussex, he has a wife and three older children who have either moved out or are at university. He says he is ‘100%’ supporting England tonight

Aaron Broomfield, 28, and his partner Rebecca Sinclair, 27, from Sunderland, took three days off work to watch the World Cup from London

Aaron Broomfield, 28, and his partner Rebecca Sinclair, 27, from Sunderland, took three days off work to watch the World Cup from London 

Darren Adams, 50, an electric manager from Crawley, West Sussex, has a wife and three older children who have either moved out or are at university. He is ‘100%’ supporting England tonight.

He has had meetings since the early morning, but finished the day with a pint in a sports bar in Victoria ahead of the game.

He said: ‘I think England will win but it will be by the odd goal. I think England are not playing the best but I still think they’ve got enough to beat Wales.

‘To be fair if England play to their potential they should beat them by quite a few goals. But England is not playing well.’

He’s going to be watching the football with his wife at home. He said: ‘(I’ll be watching) with my wife, whether she likes it or not. The only good thing is if the football is on, Emmerdale won’t be on.’

‘Southgate comes from the town I live in now, my wife went to school with Southgate. I don’t love his tactics because he ain’t got a plan B, but hopefully he’ll have one tonight.

‘(If England win) I’ll be celebrating no end because I’ve got them in my sweepstake for work.’

Tom Sweeney, 25, and pal James Halford, 24, were ready to roar the Three Lions onto victory

Tom Sweeney, 25, and pal James Halford, 24, were ready to roar the Three Lions onto victory

Tom Sweeney and friend James had warmed up with a Kasabian gig the night earlier

Tom Sweeney and friend James had warmed up with a Kasabian gig the night earlier

Insurance broker Sam Marks, 32, had also taken half a day off work and to join pal Scott Smith, 32, who finished his shift on the railway at lunchtime.

Liverpool supporter Sam said: ‘I’ve been here before and the atmosphere is great. We got a VIP table right at the front and the beer is flowing nicely. I’ve got a good feeling about England and hopefully this time it really will come home. We’ve waited long enough.’

Crystal Palace fan Scott said: ‘It’s been a good tournament so far football wise and there have been some surprise results but I’m not expecting any shocks tonight, just a 4-1 England win.’

Sam added: ‘The only thing I will say is that it would have been good if Harry Kane had worn the LGBT armband like he said he was going to and make a stand. I was a bit disappointed he and the team didn’t follow through on that.’

Officials at the venue estimate they will sell more than 4,000 pints for the match – more than sold at venues in Doha they point out although they’re is an alcohol ban there.

Young Wales football fans in the city centre of Cardiff ahead of this evening's World Cup clash

Young Wales football fans in the city centre of Cardiff ahead of this evening’s World Cup clash

Alice Gill and Joe Murphy enjoy pints at Croydon's Boxpark before tonight's big game

Alice Gill and Joe Murphy enjoy pints at Croydon’s Boxpark before tonight’s big game

An England fan at a pub in Birmingham raises his glass before this evening's crunch match with Wales

An England fan at a pub in Birmingham raises his glass before this evening’s crunch match with Wales

Two young Wales fans embrace before their team's clash with England in the 'Battle of Britain' this evening

Two young Wales fans embrace before their team’s clash with England in the ‘Battle of Britain’ this evening

Pictured: (L-R) England fan Penny Kerr with partner Mark Hoff who is a Wales supporter pose for a picture by the giant bucket hat in the city centre of Cardiff

Pictured: (L-R) England fan Penny Kerr with partner Mark Hoff who is a Wales supporter pose for a picture by the giant bucket hat in the city centre of Cardiff

England fans hit the bar early as they enjoy a morning pint at the Five Swans pub in Newcastle

England fans hit the bar early as they enjoy a morning pint at the Five Swans pub in Newcastle

Welsh fans Ceiron Watkins, Jack Grout, Elliot Jones, Sam Barton and Harry Wren enjoy a pre-match beer in Tenerife

Welsh fans Ceiron Watkins, Jack Grout, Elliot Jones, Sam Barton and Harry Wren enjoy a pre-match beer in Tenerife

Earlier, a number of business leaders revealed the steps they are taking to let their staff be flexible and enjoy the football. 

Chris Schutrups, of The Mortgage Hut, said: ‘We’re supporting our team by offering them either time off or time in lieu if they’re not a football fan.

‘As a thank you to our team members for their hard work, we are also offering an allowance, which will be paid in their monthly pay, of £25 per match to use on food or drinks.’

Ross Boyd, CEO at Dashly.com, added: ‘If someone wants to slip off early to get a few beers in before the match, we certainly won’t hold it against them.

‘This is one of the biggest sporting events in this country for some time so you’d think most employers would get into the spirit of things. Equally, we’ll be bringing in some paracetamol tomorrow as there may well be a few sore heads.’

Many streets across the country appeared deserted today as Britain ground to a halt in preparation for the crucial Group B fixture. 

A village that straddles the border between Wales and England will be divided tonight with one pub on the Shropshire side set to be full of Three Lions fans and the Powys bar packed with Dragons.

Families, friendships and even marriages will be split in Llanymynech at 7pm when the ‘Battle of Britain’ kicks off in Doha.

On the Powys side of town, landlord John Turner, 58, is expecting a bar full of Welsh fans at The Dolphin Inn – but the east Londoner was booed by punters this morning when he revealed an England shirt under his Cymru hoodie.   

He confessed: ‘I might be the landlord of the village’s Welsh pub but I’m still supporting England.’

At the other pub, across the A483 in Shropshire, Jason Farr expects 90 per cent of customers at the Cross Keys to support England. ‘There tends to be a bit more of a mix when it’s England v Wales in the rugby,’ he said. ‘I think some Welsh fans will perhaps stay at home.’ 

Charlotte Pryce, 34, who lives in the English half with Welshman Adam Owen, 35, said: ‘I’ll be supporting Wales just to keep the peace but if England win I’ll be secretly delighted.’

Parliament worker and ‘massive’ England fan Cameron Mackie, 25, is watching on from the Beehive ‘spoons in Brixton.

He’s warning Wales will throw everything they’ve got at this game – and could cause a huge upset for England fans, himself included. 

‘I’m most scared about Wales out of everyone going into the World Cup. Objectively they’re the worst team, but at the same time, they’re going to treat this as their World Cup final so they’re going to absolutely play as well as they possibly can.

England fans hit the bars as they enjoy an early afternoon pint at the Five Swans pub in Newcastle

England fans hit the bars as they enjoy an early afternoon pint at the Five Swans pub in Newcastle

More England fans outside the Five Swans pub in Newcastle - one wearing a graduation outfit

More England fans outside the Five Swans pub in Newcastle – one wearing a graduation outfit

Three young Wales football fans in the city centre of Cardiff, Wales

Three young Wales football fans in the city centre of Cardiff, Wales

England fans in Birmingham enjoy an early pint before tonight's match with Wales

England fans in Birmingham enjoy an early pint before tonight’s match with Wales

‘[If they won] It would really hurt. It would definitely really hurt. I feel like any Welsh person I talked to would remind me of it very quickly.

‘I definitely don’t think we’ll go very far if we can’t beat Wales. It would [ruin my night] a little bit. As my mate said I’ll be sad and hungover instead of happy and hungover.’

England are also under pressure in the first ever match between the home nations at a World Cup, needing a better result after a bore 0-0 draw against the USA on Friday night. 

They beat Iran 6-2 in their first match and will top the group with a win but a draw will also see them through. 

Gareth Southgate’s side are all but guaranteed to qualify for the knockout round, barring a heavy defeat and a win for either Iran and USA in the other Group B fixture being played simultaneously, while Wales must hope that game finishes in a draw and that they can pull off a shock victory against England.

An England fan dons a mask of Gareth Southgate as he enjoys morning pints in Birmingham before tonight's World Cup match with Wales

An England fan dons a mask of Gareth Southgate as he enjoys morning pints in Birmingham before tonight’s World Cup match with Wales

One fan warming up before the big game tonight in the Batons Arms Pub, Birmingham

One fan warming up before the big game tonight in the Batons Arms Pub, Birmingham

(L-R) Karl Peachey,Dave Gerrards and Jake Prince at the Butchers arms in Oswestry, Shropshire

(L-R) Karl Peachey,Dave Gerrards and Jake Prince at the Butchers arms in Oswestry, Shropshire

Cheril Eisenbach who works at the Butchers Arms in Oswestry getting ready for tonight

Cheril Eisenbach who works at the Butchers Arms in Oswestry getting ready for tonight 

Don’t let banter go too far, employers told 

It’s a clash of neighbours and jokes in the workplace about the outcome are inevitable. 

But employers should be careful not to let banter go too far, a firm of solicitors said. 

Peter Nicholson, of Nelsons Solicitors, which specialises in discrimination cases, told The Times employers should be careful.  

‘It is essential that this does not cross the line into racial discrimination – based on nationality – and employers should make it clear that any discriminatory behaviour will result in disciplinary action.’ 

Solicitors emphasised that context was important and not all banter would be considered discriminatory.  

If the other game ends with a win for either side, Rob Page’s men would have to beat Gareth Southgate’s side by four clear goals. 

Despite the odds being stacked against Wales, Tuesday night’s match is still a huge fixture, which could prove to be Wales’ last at a World Cup for many years given their last appearance came in 1958. 

O’Neill’s, a popular pub near Cardiff railway station in the city centre, had said this morning they were banning English supporters from entering as they wanted to create a ‘safe atmosphere’ for Wales fans.

But the venue, which has giant screens up for the World Cup match and has shown all previous Three Lions matches, has since performed a U-turn after protests.

The pub chain announced: ‘We have made the decision to welcome both Wales and England football fans to watch the exciting World Cup 2022 tie this evening. 

‘As always, we will have security in place to ensure a safe and welcoming environment for everyone to enjoy the football.’

Meanwhile, the boss of fellow pub chain Fuller’s said the tournament has been a huge boost for venues since it began on November 20, after a difficult couple of years for the hospitality sector due to Covid.

Chief executive Simon Emeny told BBC Radio Four’s Today programme: ‘It’s going to be the biggest of the three group matches, a Home Nations fixture with a lot hanging on it.

‘We as a company and a sector will be crossing everything for an English victory because they will then play a last 16 game on Sunday at 7pm which will be great for pubs, so we’d get a great day and an even better day on Sunday.

‘It’s very much additional bookings [that the World Cup has produced] – for the first match last Monday, takings ranged from up 30%-40%.

‘There’s no better place to watch an English victory or performance than in a pub with your friends and family and colleagues, it’s a much more enjoyable experience than watching it at home.

It doesn’t displace [Christmas bookings], it’s incremental, which is why we need England – or Wales – to get as far as possible for the sector when we’ve had a difficult two or three years, so we’ll be crossing everything for an England win at Fuller’s today.’

Welsh fans Leah Phillips and Morgan Williams enjoy the sun in Tenerife before their side's crunch Group B clash with England

Welsh fans Leah Phillips and Morgan Williams enjoy the sun in Tenerife before their side’s crunch Group B clash with England

England fans from Sheffield enjoy the sun in Tenerife before their side's crunch Group B clash with Wales

England fans from Sheffield enjoy the sun in Tenerife before their side’s crunch Group B clash with Wales 

Lee Edwards, Lee Brickell and Steven Powell from Abertillery soak up the sun in Tenerife

Lee Edwards, Lee Brickell and Steven Powell from Abertillery soak up the sun in Tenerife 

England fans Jack Bayly, Lewis Foster, Lewis Hopkins and Daniel Walker enjoy beers in Tenerife

England fans Jack Bayly, Lewis Foster, Lewis Hopkins and Daniel Walker enjoy beers in Tenerife

England fans from Stoke-on-Trent enjoy beers in the sun in Tenerife before tonight's big game

England fans from Stoke-on-Trent enjoy beers in the sun in Tenerife before tonight’s big game

Tommy Scott and girlfriend Jess Connell from Leeds enjoy their pre-match drinks in Tenerife

Tommy Scott and girlfriend Jess Connell from Leeds enjoy their pre-match drinks in Tenerife

World Cup has been a huge boost for venues, says pub boss 

The boss of pub chain Fuller’s said the World Cup has been a huge boost for venues since it began on November 20, after a difficult couple of years for the hospitality sector due to Covid.

Chief executive Simon Emeny told BBC Radio Four’s Today programme: ‘It’s going to be the biggest of the three group matches, a Home Nations fixture with a lot hanging on it.

‘We as a company and a sector will be crossing everything for an English victory because they will then play a last 16 game on Sunday at 7pm which will be great for pubs, so we’d get a great day and an even better day on Sunday.

‘It’s very much additional bookings [that the World Cup has produced] – for the first match last Monday, takings ranged from up 30%-40%.

‘There’s no better place to watch an English victory or performance than in a pub with your friends and family and colleagues, it’s a much more enjoyable experience than watching it at home.

It doesn’t displace [Christmas bookings], it’s incremental, which is why we need England – or Wales – to get as far as possible for the sector when we’ve had a difficult two or three years, so we’ll be crossing everything for an England win at Fuller’s today.’

Meanwhile, fans in Tenerife are preparing for tonight’s clash the only way they know how – with a full English breakfast washed down with an ice cold Spanish beer.

Thousands of Welsh and England supporters have flocked to Spain for some winter sun and are already packing into the lively bars and restaurants as excitement builds towards the big kick off.

Among them were a group of friends from Pontypool, south Wales, who opted to enjoy the beautiful game in laid-back Tenerife rather than endure the harsh rules of Qatar.

Jack Grout, 22, told MailOnline: ‘We came here especially to watch the World Cup. We’ve been here for about ten days.

‘We decided it was a much better bet to be here in Tenerife than going to Qatar because of the expense and all the rules and regulations there.

‘It’s been great fun so far, a real laugh. We just hope our boys can do us proud.’

England supporters were singing songs and waving St George flags at Leonardos bar in Playa de las Americas. 

Grown men had painted their faces and were dancing to World Cup songs at the Great Oak pub nearby, meanwhile Wales supporters were making their way to the ‘Original Wigan Pier’ bar – which has become an unofficial fan zone for the Red Dragons.

One keen England fan Mark Stokes said: ‘I’m from Portsmouth but my wife is Welsh and we live in Barry, south Wales, so we just hope it’s a good game!’

Friends Leah Phillips, 26, and Morgan Williams, 27, from Merthyr have been sunbathing between matches.

Leah, who works in finance, told MailOnline: ‘We we’re looking for some winter sun and we knew lots of Welsh fans were coming to Tenerife to watch the football so we thought ‘why not’.’

A group of England fans from Sheffield told how they were looking forward to the game.

Chris Taylor said: ‘As long as England score I will be happy!’

Back home, Wales fan Lara Courtney, 23, got into the Battle of Britain spirit by joining pal Ciara O’Donnell, 22, for a pre match drink.

The pair were among early punters at Lot 75 in Shenfield, Essex, which has decked itself out with flags and bunting for the footballing fiesta in Qatar.

Lara said: ‘We have nothing to lose so I’m sure the team will throw themselves into it and try and get some Welsh pride back. Beating the English will be tough but I’m sure we can do it.’

Ciara joked: ‘It’s nice of the Welsh to turn up but they will be going home. England will do the nation proud and Phil Foden and Harry Kane will score.’

Saint George's Cross flags on display at the Kirby Estate, Bermondsey, South East London ahead of England vs Wales World Cup match

Saint George’s Cross flags on display at the Kirby Estate, Bermondsey, South East London ahead of England vs Wales World Cup match

England fans pose for a photograph at a souq in Doha on the day of the FIFA World Cup Group B match between Wales and England

England fans pose for a photograph at a souq in Doha on the day of the FIFA World Cup Group B match between Wales and England

A man selling Wales scarves and bucket hats in Queen Street, in the city centre of Cardiff

A man selling Wales scarves and bucket hats in Queen Street, in the city centre of Cardiff

Fans Terry and Joan in Birmingham cheering England on - the game kicks off at 7pm

Fans Terry and Joan in Birmingham cheering England on – the game kicks off at 7pm 

England fan James Vincent (left) and Mike Ritter gather at the Red Lion Pub & Restaurant in Doha, Qatar

England fan James Vincent (left) and Mike Ritter gather at the Red Lion Pub & Restaurant in Doha, Qatar

Fans gather at the Red Lion Pub & Restaurant in Doha, Qatar, ahead of the match

Fans gather at the Red Lion Pub & Restaurant in Doha, Qatar, ahead of the match

Andy Pearson, pictured at the Saltney Tavern - 'the last pub in England' - was born in Chester while his brother John was born just over the Welsh border in Mancot

Andy Pearson, pictured at the Saltney Tavern – ‘the last pub in England’ – was born in Chester while his brother John was born just over the Welsh border in Mancot

Welsh pub’s U-turn on England fans 

O’Neill’s, a popular pub near Cardiff railway station in the city centre, had said this morning they were banning English supporters from entering as they wanted to create a ‘safe atmosphere’ for Wales fans.

But the venue, which has giant screens up for the World Cup match and has shown all previous Three Lions matches, has since performed a U-turn after a storm of protest.

The pub chain announced: ‘We have made the decision to welcome both Wales and England football fans to watch the exciting World Cup 2022 tie this evening. 

‘As always, we will have security in place to ensure a safe and welcoming environment for everyone to enjoy the football.’

 

Thousands of England and Wales fans also descended on Doha today for their crucial World Cup encounter dubbed the ‘Battle of Britain.’

Doha was a sea of red and white shirts as the fans flooded into the city for the first-ever clash between two home nations at a World Cup.

Around 30 flights carrying supporters heading to Qatar touched down at breakfast time as they were greeted by searing heat.

England fans gathered in Doha’s Red Lion pub from early this morning and began downing pints of lager.

Graham Eastham, 38, draped in an England flag, roared: ‘This is going to be a great derby. But only one team’s going to win and it’s not Wales.

‘We’ve had a fantastic tournament and it’s going to get even better when we beat Wales.’

Rob Carty, 59 and his son Elliot, 28, from Bristol, added: ‘This is going to be an epic British match and we’re all looking forward to it.

‘England are the better side but Wales need to save their pride because they’ve had a rotten World Cup. It’ll be like being back home for this game with a passionate British crowd getting behind their teams.’

Elliot said: ‘England will win but it’ll be a tough game. Both sets of players know each other well so it’ll be very competitive.

‘Wales have had a terrible World Cup and they’ll be going home before we are.’

Fans gather at the Red Lion Pub & Restaurant in Doha, Qatar, on the day of the FIFA World Cup Group B match between Wales and England

Fans gather at the Red Lion Pub & Restaurant in Doha, Qatar, on the day of the FIFA World Cup Group B match between Wales and England

A Wales fan and an England fan put rivalries aside and enjoy a drink together before the game

A Wales fan and an England fan put rivalries aside and enjoy a drink together before the game

Wales fans Tony Rodgers (left), Mike Gristwood (centre) and Steve Pope (right) in the Red Lion Pub & Restaurant in Doha, Qatar

Wales fans Tony Rodgers (left), Mike Gristwood (centre) and Steve Pope (right) in the Red Lion Pub & Restaurant in Doha, Qatar

England fan Issey Bulter and Welsh fan Rachel Walters in Qatar

England fan Issey Bulter and Welsh fan Rachel Walters in Qatar

An England fan holds up the cross of St George in Doha before this evening's match

An England fan holds up the cross of St George in Doha before this evening’s match

England fans were all smiles in the hours leading up to kick off at the World Cup in Qatar

England fans were all smiles in the hours leading up to kick off at the World Cup in Qatar

John Chambers and Antony Morgan having a beer and getting ready for the game in Birmingham

John Chambers and Antony Morgan having a beer and getting ready for the game in Birmingham

The streets of London were quiet today as millions prepare to watch England's clash with Wales in the World Cup

The streets of London were quiet today as millions prepare to watch England’s clash with Wales in the World Cup

Empty roads outside of Wrexham, Wales, before this evening's crunch World Cup clash

Empty roads outside of Wrexham, Wales, before this evening’s crunch World Cup clash

The M20 was almost completely deserted today between Folkestone and Ashford in Kent ahead of the much-anticipated fixture

The M20 was almost completely deserted today between Folkestone and Ashford in Kent ahead of the much-anticipated fixture

King just wants ‘good game of football’ 

The King just wants a ‘good game of football’ from England’s World Cup clash against Wales, a former player has claimed.

Gary Bennett said he asked Charles who he will be supporting in the match, after collecting his MBE at Windsor Castle on Tuesday.

Mr Bennett’s work with educational charity Show Racism The Red Card earned him the gong for services to anti-racism in football.

Speaking at the investiture ceremony, he told the PA news agency that getting his award from the King was the ‘icing on the cake’.

The former Sunderland AFC star added: ‘I was able to have a three or four-minute chat with him so that was fantastic, around football and especially tonight with the England vs Wales game, it sort of put him on the spot.

‘I did ask who he’s going to support really in the game between England and Wales, I think he just wanted a good game of football.’

Tony Meakin, 55, from London, said: ‘It’ll be a cracking match and we’re going to have a good few pints before kick off.

‘The atmosphere will be electric. All the England fans want to see a great victory so that we can send the Welsh home.’

His friend Andrew Curl, 48, said: ‘It’s been a fantastic tournament so far and it’ll be great to beat our Welsh cousins.

‘We’ve been here since the start of the tournament and have been having a good laugh with the Welsh lads. But sadly they’ll be crying tonight as they’ll have to go home.’

Joe Seymour, 36, a town planner from Cheltenham and Welsh fan, said: ‘It has cost me £2,500 to see this match, but every penny is just worth it.

‘I think Wales can beat England, we have to be mentally tougher and really up for it.

‘It is an absolute privilege to see this match and to be in Doha, where the people have been fantastic with us.’

He and his friend Ciarhan Webb, 36, from Cardiff raised a glass to Gareth Bale and his team at Doha’s Red Lion pub.

Mr Webb said: ‘for so long we have been the underdogs, but tonight we can prove our worth. We have the players, they have the experience and they have us as fans cheering them on.

‘I truly believe Wales can beat England and if everything goes well we can qualify and carry on in the World Cup.’

Lee Trowbridge, 40 and his friend Sam Grimwood, 39 revealed how they had walked to the stadium from Doha airport because they could not get a cab.

Mr Trowbridge, a Spurs fan from Portsmouth said: ‘We’re really up for this game. We’ve had a great day in Doha and have been so excited that we didn’t want to wait around for a taxi so decided to walk.

‘It’s great getting together with the Welsh lads. We’ve had a good laugh and the better team will win, which is England.’

The two men flew in for the match from Dubai where they have been staying during the World Cup.

Lydia Smith, 29 from Surrey said: ‘England will win this game but it’s going to be close. It’ll be like a derby game and they’re always unpredictable.’

Paul ‘Tango’ Gregory, 60 one of England’s most famous football fans said: ‘I’ll bet the shirt on my back that England will win even though I don’t wear it that much.

‘It’s been a fantastic tournament and now all we need is for England to make it even better by winning and going through to the next round.

His partner Rachel Seeviour, 51 added: ‘I’m getting very excited about this game. We’ve been making lots of noise and having a few drinks.

‘There’s been great banter with the Wales fans and weee all enjoying the sunshine and looking forward to a classic British football match.’

He and Rachel, who have spent around £4000 on their trip thus far, w will leave Doha tomorrow and head to Dubai for three days to save on their expenses.

Mr Gregory added: ‘It is cheaper for us to fly to Dubai and stay there for a few days, rather than hang about here, where hotels are very expensive and booked up.

‘But as we are 99 per cent certain of going through to the next round, we also very sure that we will be returning for the next match.

‘We hope England go all the way and we’re out here right to the end of the tournament.’

England and Wales fans number around 10,000 in Doha. Millions will be watching at home

England and Wales fans number around 10,000 in Doha. Millions will be watching at home

Wales fans pose for a photograph in a souk in Doha on the day of the FIFA World Cup Group B match between Wales and England

Wales fans pose for a photograph in a souk in Doha on the day of the FIFA World Cup Group B match between Wales and England

England fan Billy Jones from Sevenoaks and Welsh fan Richard Bradshaw from Bangor

England fan Billy Jones from Sevenoaks and Welsh fan Richard Bradshaw from Bangor

Wales fans pose for a photograph in Doha on the day of the FIFA World Cup Group B match between Wales and England

Wales fans pose for a photograph in Doha on the day of the FIFA World Cup Group B match between Wales and England

England fans Tony Meakin, left, and Andrew Curl enjoy a pre-match pint in Doha

England fans Tony Meakin, left, and Andrew Curl enjoy a pre-match pint in Doha

England fans (left to right) Mick Martin, Alan Lyness, Andrew Doyke, David Powell and Alistair Banham in the Red Lion Pub & Restaurant in Doha, Qatar

England fans (left to right) Mick Martin, Alan Lyness, Andrew Doyke, David Powell and Alistair Banham in the Red Lion Pub & Restaurant in Doha, Qatar

England fans pose for a photograph on the Corniche in Doha on the day of the FIFA World Cup Group B match between Wales and England

England fans pose for a photograph on the Corniche in Doha on the day of the FIFA World Cup Group B match between Wales and England

England fans arriving at the Red Lion in Doha ahead of tonight's crunch Group B clash

England fans arriving at the Red Lion in Doha ahead of tonight’s crunch Group B clash

Doha’s Red Lion pub has become a popular haunt for supporters of both home nations and the tens of thousands of international fans who have travelled across continents for football’s biggest tournament. 

Mike Ritter, 36, from London, said his experience of the tournament in Qatar has been better than expected although joked the ‘football has been worse’ after watching England’s 0-0 draw with USA.

Mr Ritter, who is attending his fourth World Cup and arrived on a shuttle flight from Dubai, said: ‘We landed at 10am this morning and fly back at seven tomorrow morning and between 3am and 7am there’s not a lot to do, but hopefully it’s a good result and we don’t really care.’

On what England boss Gareth Southgate should do against Wales, Mr Ritter replied: ‘Play Phil Foden. He should have come on at half-time against the States, so I think it’s important he gets a game today.’

His friend James Vincent, 36, and living in Dubai, said the long days for the shuttle flights to Qatar left him feeling ‘pretty knackered’, adding: ‘Hopefully it’ll be worthwhile this time.’

Mr Vincent said of the trips: ‘Our flights today and last week were all Wales fans so we’ve been a bit outnumbered, they’re OK, a good laugh, they’re on their best behaviour, at least for now.’

On his prediction for the Wales game, Mr Vincent said: ‘I hope to see an England win maybe 2-0, 3-0 will be great, as long as we don’t lose, I’ll be happy.’

England fan Mick Martin, 62, from Aylesbury, said Wales are a ‘wounded animal’ but added: ‘We should be good enough. If we’re not good enough to beat Wales or get a good result against Wales we really shouldn’t be, should we?’

Mr Martin said the trip to Qatar has been ‘beyond our expectations’, also saying: ‘It’s great to have all the different supporters in one city, which makes it a bit chaotic, we can find our beers when want to, watch the games very easily, we’ve got nothing to worry about.’

Speaking in the Red Lion pub in Doha, Mr Martin said of England’s chances at the tournament: ‘We’re positive, we’re very optimistic – we’re deluded optimists, we’re stupid idiots really, it’s a rollercoaster but we always hope that we’re going to win and expect we’re going to win, but we’re not too down if we don’t.’

Alistair Banham, 67, from Buckinghamshire, added: ‘We got here knowing it’d be different to other World Cups and we adjusted to that and it has exceeded my expectations and it’s been really, really good – great fans, camaraderie, no trouble, you can find a beer, get to the grounds.’

His first World Cup was Germany in 2006, adding on Qatar: ‘It’s a different atmosphere, it’s been really good fun, you adjust to the environment and what you have to do is respect the local country.’

Andrew Doyle, from Norwich, added he worries Gareth Southgate will set England up to play for a draw against Wales, adding: ‘We want to attack, win the game, be positive, get the momentum going for the next round because those games you have to win.’

England fan Chris Weight (right) and Wales fan Chris Thomas (left) enjoy a friendly drink together in the Red Lion bar in Doha

England fan Chris Weight (right) and Wales fan Chris Thomas (left) enjoy a friendly drink together in the Red Lion bar in Doha

Friends Len Williams, known as Taffy, and Phil Shone, enjoy a bit of banter at the 'last pub in England', the Brewery Arms in Saltney, ahead of the Wales v England game

Friends Len Williams, known as Taffy, and Phil Shone, enjoy a bit of banter at the ‘last pub in England’, the Brewery Arms in Saltney, ahead of the Wales v England game

'The last pub in England' - the Brewery Arms in Saltney, Chester

‘The last pub in England’ – the Brewery Arms in Saltney, Chester

A quiet A483 outside Chester before tonight's clash between England and Wales at the World Cup

A quiet A483 outside Chester before tonight’s clash between England and Wales at the World Cup

Windsor town centre was deserted this morning ahead of tonight's huge World Cup clash

Windsor town centre was deserted this morning ahead of tonight’s huge World Cup clash

Empty roads in the village of Ruabon in Wales before tonight's clash between England and Wales at the World Cup

Empty roads in the village of Ruabon in Wales before tonight’s clash between England and Wales at the World Cup

Steven Williams (centre) and Lee Holloway (right) proudly hold a Welsh flag in the Red Lion in Doha ahead of the big match. Wales will need to win the match and hope for a good result when Iran play the US if they are going to progress

Steven Williams (centre) and Lee Holloway (right) proudly hold a Welsh flag in the Red Lion in Doha ahead of the big match. Wales will need to win the match and hope for a good result when Iran play the US if they are going to progress

England and Wales fans together in Doha ahead of the big match tonight where millions will watch from home

England and Wales fans together in Doha ahead of the big match tonight where millions will watch from home

'It's coming home!': These Three Lions fans are gearing up for tonight's clash between England and Wales in Doha

‘It’s coming home!’: These Three Lions fans are gearing up for tonight’s clash between England and Wales in Doha

But there's plenty of support, too, for Wales which suffered a heartbreaking injury-time defeat to Iran last week. Pictured are fans in Doha on Tuesday morning

But there’s plenty of support, too, for Wales which suffered a heartbreaking injury-time defeat to Iran last week. Pictured are fans in Doha on Tuesday morning

This year's World Cup is the first appearance Wales have made at the tournament since 1958. Pictured are some of the supporters who have flown into Qatar to cheer on the Welsh side

This year’s World Cup is the first appearance Wales have made at the tournament since 1958. Pictured are some of the supporters who have flown into Qatar to cheer on the Welsh side

Back home, the Kirby Estate in Bermondsey, south east London, was completely covered in dozens of St George’s Cross flags. 

Meanwhile, cute footage shows a pride of lions demonstrating affection for their namesake England football team.

One lioness, which lives at Knowsley Safari in Merseyside, was captured cradling a box painted with the St George’s cross after knocking away others featuring England’s Group B rivals.

But the apex predators also seemed a little ‘peed off’ at England’s draw against the US on Friday, with another big cat urinating on the American flag.

A spokesperson for the park said: ‘The lions at Knowsley Safari in Merseyside have got World Cup fever.

‘They’re proudly following the Lions in Group B, keeping a close eye on Wales and Iran, but they’re a bit peed off with Friday night’s England/USA performance.

‘The pride male found it laughable. Hopefully, England’s lions can be as dangerous in and around the box as these big cats tonight.’

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