England fans remained upbeat despite last night’s disappointing 1-0 defeat to Belgium.
The result means the Three Lions finish runners-up in Group G.
But as thousands of fans streamed out of the stadium in Kaliningrad, many were more convinced than ever their heroes can go all the way.
Edward David, 68, who saw England win the Cup in 1966, said: “We’ve definitely got a chance of lifting the trophy in Moscow. We may have lost but it may actually suit us in the long run. Finishing second is not necessarily a bad thing.”
England will now face Colombia in Moscow on Tuesday, meaning less travelling for the team and supporters.
The Three Lions have also never lost to the South Americans, winning three and drawing two of their encounters.
If Gareth Southgate’s men can win, the route to the final would be much easier as they would avoid big guns like Brazil.
It would mean a potential quarter-final against Sweden or Switzerland.
Before last night’s match the WAGs were enjoying the atmosphere at the stadium, including Nicky Pike, Annabel Peyton and Megan Davison – the partners of Ashley Young, Jack Butland and Jordan Pickford. Jamie Vardy’s wife Rebekah was also pictured enjoying a beer in the 32C sunshine.
The squad flew back to their HQ in Repino straight after the match.
Both teams had played weakened sides and ex-Man United star Adnan Januzaj settled the game and won the group for Belgium with a second-half goal.
But with their team already through, the 4,000 England fans in a crowd of 35,000 wasted no time taunting old rivals Germany over their shock exit on Wednesday.
The game was barely 10 minutes old when the Three Lions supporters repeatedly sang “Auf wiedersehen” before moving on to “Are you watching Germany?” Fan Mr David was a teenager when he attended the 1966 World Cup final against the Germans at Wembley – and he hopes for similar success this year.
He said: “With this team we really can do it. That would be amazing winning it twice in my lifetime and seeing it on
Fellow fans were also optimistic. Paul Mower, 60, of Balsham, Cambs, said: “We have gone through and don’t have to meet the likes of Brazil or Uruguay until the final. I thought we did well and I am looking forward to the knockout stages.
“It would be good to see Belgium again – in the final.”
Leo Rescillo, 48, who was heading home to Bournemouth on a late flight, claimed England now have a “puncher’s chance” of reaching the quarter-finals and beyond. “We have to beat Colombia and then we’ll see,” he said. “People keep saying it is a better draw but the big tests are yet to come.”
There was a carnival atmosphere across the city before, during and after the game.
Fans mixed happily in the main square. England’s Dad’s Army – given the name because the average age of the fans is older than usual – was welcomed by locals and Belgians alike.
The Sheffield-based brass band was cheered and applauded wherever they went, with rival fans even doing a conga to the music.
But there was heartache for one group of around 25 England fans whose flight was cancelled at the last minute.The 6.30am LOT Polish Airlines flight from Heathrow was destined for Warsaw with a connection to Kaliningrad set to leave at 11.05am local time.
The plane was ready to take off with all the passengers boarded when it stopped on the runway at around 7am.
Following a 30-minute delay, passengers were told there was a “technical difficulty” and were taken back to the terminal. There they learned it was not possible to delay their connecting flight, so they could not get to Russia on time.
Mark Rodgers, 60, of Formby, Merseyside, had spent more than £1,000 to make the trip and was due to enjoy a VIP box for his first England game.
The Man City fan said: “It is devastating. I dread to think how much I have spent on the trip.”
Jeffrey Marsh, 61, of Chingford, Essex, was not only missing the game but losing the money he spent on his return flight from Latvia and the coach from Russia to get there. “It is a terrible situation,” he said.
LOT said: “We are very sorry. And we will pay a full refund on the tickets.”
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