England are preparing to clash with France tonight – with millions of viewers set to watch the fight.
The winner of the match between Gareth Southgate’s team and Didier Deschamps’ team will advance to the semifinals in Qatar and have every chance of lifting the 18k solid gold trophy.
Thousands of fans will be rooting for England at Al Khor and millions more at home are expected to watch on TV as pubs and bars prepare for another great night.
All eyes are on England’s defensive line – and how the Three Lions will keep Kylian Mbappe at bay.
Psychic Uri Geller even got in on the action, vowing to use his mental powers to influence the game.
TVs will be blaring and beers flowing in England when the game kicks off at 7pm.
The match could even increase beer sales by six million pints, according to a trade organization.
The British Beer and Pub Association hopes the 7pm kick-off time for the Three Lions’ France clash will encourage punters to get there early.
It believes the game can bring a £26million boost to the sector, with total pint sales on Saturday estimated at £28million.
Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer and Pub Association said: “Hopefully the Saturday night slot of this game will bring good business to pubs as people can get to their pub early to secure a seat and cheer for the Three Lions.
“The World Cup has given a boost to beer sales and if England manage to beat France then hopefully it will stay that way.
“Pubs need this as they continue to weather an already difficult winter of rising energy costs and the cost of living crisis, and their prospects are further dampened by news of rail strikes during the normally busy Christmas period.
‘Although the tournament will not be able to offset an extremely difficult trading environment, we hope it will provide a boost to the industry, at least in the short term, and continue to lift the nation’s spirits.’
Tonight’s fight on the pitch won’t be the only clash as some families prepare for the “lighthearted rivalry” that only comes with divided national loyalties.
Alexia Leachman, 48, grew up in Cardiff but is also French and now lives in Uzès in southern France.
However, their two daughters, Lila (12) and Sofia (8), are both English and also big football fans.
“I’m Welsh but I’m also French, I have dual nationality so I feel very French and very Welsh, but I don’t feel English at all,” said Ms Leachman, author of Clear Your Head Trash.
“The game will be interesting because they will all support England.”
Meanwhile, Tom Thewlis, 30, from Oxford, has welcomed an email stick from his French uncle, who believes the daunting prospect of France’s Kylian Mbappe – the tournament’s top scorer – has made England right-back Kyle Walker too will be much.
“My uncle is a little joker. He always kind of tucked the boot in, especially when we were eliminated in the semifinals in Russia (2018),” he said.
“He already emailed me this week and talked to me about how Kylian Mbappe is going to have the last laugh at Kyle Walker, all that stuff and just some sort of general banter exchange.”
Mr Thewlis – who visits his French family every year – described the situation as a “lighthearted rivalry” and said it lends extra meaning to a game of which he is “calmly confident”.
Gareth Southgate was louder in his belief in the Three Lions and their ability to take on their opponents tonight.
He said: “Based on our experience, I think these big games are important reference points for the team.
“You’ve had to go through a lot of different ways of winning games, some losses that hurt but we learned a lot from them and I think they prepare you for nights like tomorrow where you have to produce the very best version of you .
“The mentality is really the key. Believing that we deserve to be there and that we are ready to fight France for that semi-final spot.
But Southgate insisted the side must bring out the “very best version” of themselves if they are to keep their dreams alive by defeating the reigning world champions.
Additional police officers will be deployed in London as large swarms of English and French football fans are expected to pour into the city.
Downing Street said Rishi Sunak wished England “good luck” and he will be watching the game with friends and colleagues at the Prime Minister’s rural retreat, Checkers.
Elsewhere, singer Chesney Hawkes teamed up with members of the English band ahead of time to perform at Doha’s Souq Waqif marketplace.
Hawkes was dubbed a “lucky charm” by the England players after he performed his chart-hitting song “The One and Only” on the pitch during the break in their 3-0 group stage win over Wales.
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https://metro.co.uk/2022/12/10/millions-expected-to-watch-englands-world-cup-quarter-final-clash-with-france-17913897/ Millions are expected to watch England's World Cup quarter-finals against France