You are here

England fans take epic trek to Moscow to watch World Cup semi-final




Thousands of England fans are heading to Moscow today by any means possible to potentially watch history being made as the country takes on Croatia in the World Cup semi final.

It is thought up to 10,000 supporters will travel to Russia today, with some even booking private jets to ensure they get there on time.  

Meanwhile as many as 37million people in the UK are expected to tune in via television tomorrow night and could smash the 32.3million record crowd that watched the World Cup final win against West Germany in 1966.

Thousands will watch on big screens at home, with British Summer Time festival hosting 30,000 fans in Hyde Park while 10,000 will descend on Pier Head in Liverpool and 8,000 will cram into the Castleford Bowl in Manchester. 

And some have gone the extra mile to show their support, with one fan even getting a picture of striker Harry Kane tattooed on his bottom – and plans to have Gareth Southgate inked there too should England win the tournament.

England fans are flocking to Moscow today for England's World Cup semi final with Croatia with British Airways handing out waistcoats similar to the one worn by manager Gareth Southgate to travellers on today's flights, pictured

England fans are flocking to Moscow today for England’s World Cup semi final with Croatia with British Airways handing out waistcoats similar to the one worn by manager Gareth Southgate to travellers on today’s flights, pictured

Others are taking any means of transport available to get to Russia, such as Paul Chalk who is getting a train from Grimsby before taking three flights via Turkey

Others are taking any means of transport available to get to Russia, such as Paul Chalk who is getting a train from Grimsby before taking three flights via Turkey

Another social media user wrote about how they stopped over in Greece for five hours to make sure they could get to Russia in time

Another social media user wrote about how they stopped over in Greece for five hours to make sure they could get to Russia in time

Thomas Evans, pictured in Moscow, booked his flights to Russia while at a wedding on Saturday when England took the lead against Sweden

Thomas Evans, pictured in Moscow, booked his flights to Russia while at a wedding on Saturday when England took the lead against Sweden

PE teacher Charlotte Roxburgh, pictured, spent £350 on flights to Russia via Amsterdam from her home in Dubai

PE teacher Charlotte Roxburgh, pictured, spent £350 on flights to Russia via Amsterdam from her home in Dubai

Connor Wakefield, pictured, said he and friends booked flights to Russia

Mr Wakefield's (pictured) flights also included a six hour stop in Lithuania

Connor Wakefield, left and right, said he and friends booked flights to Russia via Germany including a six hour stop in Lithuania

Private jet firm Private Fly also said it was seeing an ‘unprecedented’ demand for chartered flights and has taken bookings from two London finance firms joining forces as well as a group of family and friends spread out between Leicester and the north east who are flying from Manchester.      

Skyscanner also said searches for flights to Moscow rose by 486 per cent and that last-minute tickets were still available.  

British Airways is taking 860 passengers to Moscow today and has upgraded planes to 777s to allow more people to get to the game, with the airline one of only two carriers flying direct to the Russian capital along with Aeroflot.

Last night only £1,500 business class seats remained available but they appear to have all been snapped up as no direct flights are available for customers today. 

The firm revealed searches for flights spiked by more than 2,000 per cent after the Sweden quarter final with fans in Newcastle and Birmingham responsible for the biggest surges.

British Airways staff have well and truly got into the spirit of the occasion, with staff giving passengers waistcoats similar to England boss Gareth Southgate’s while inflatable footballs and goals have been placed at check-in gates at Heathrow Terminal 5.

Many fans are putting up with inconvenient and lengthy layovers if they can’t get to Moscow direct or are driving or taking trains to other countries where they can get flights from.

Connor Wakefield, 22, told the BBC he and friend Chris Phillips decided to book a last-minute trip on Sunday night and had to settle for a flight via Frankfurt with a six-hour stop over in Lithuania for more than £1,000 each.

He said: ‘It was the most stressful five hours of my life. Every second flights were just disappearing before our eyes.’ 

Thomas Evans booked his flights at half time in the England-Sweden quarter final when the score was 1-0 despite being at a wedding.

He said: ‘As they [guests] were throwing the confetti, I was booking flights. I had the faith.’ 

England fans are getting excited for the big match, wearing flags as they check in at Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport 

England fans are getting excited for the big match, wearing flags as they check in at Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport 

BA staff have decked out the check-in area with inflatable footballs and goals to enhance the excitement

BA staff have decked out the check-in area with inflatable footballs and goals to enhance the excitement

Another fan revealed they cancelled their wedding anniversary on Wednesday so they could watch the England match

Another fan revealed they cancelled their wedding anniversary on Wednesday so they could watch the England match

Joseph Cox, 20, booked his trip from Sheffield at 1am on Monday and will fly from Manchester to Dalaman, Turkey, before taking an internal flight to Istanbul and then eventually another flight to Moscow, taking around 30 hours but for a relatively cheap £172.

He told the BBC: ‘We were looking for tickets all day with no joy and decided just to book it. We’ll get tickets in the end – no matter what we have to pay.’ 

Football fan Paul Chalk also posted details of his mammoth journey on social media, tweeting he would be starting on a train from Grimsby before also taking three flights through Turkey to get to Russia. 

IS THIS ENGLAND’S MOST CONFIDENT FAN? FATHER-OF-TWO HAS HARRY KANE TATTOO INKED ON HIS BOTTOM!

Father-of-two Teddy Allen is so convinced England will win football’s biggest tournament he’s had a special tattoo of captain Harry Kane inked on his thigh – with the words ‘World Cup winners 2018’.

The 30-year-old spent four hours in the chair while the striker’s face was carefully recreated just above his left knee.

Only days before he also got ‘It’s coming home’ tattooed on his right wrist.

And should England triumph in Wednesday’s semi-final against Croatia, he plans to have Gareth Southgate drawn next to Harry.

England fan Teddy Allen, pictured, has had an image of striker Harry Kane inked on his leg to show support for the team ahead of the World Cup semi final

England fan Teddy Allen, pictured, has had an image of striker Harry Kane inked on his leg to show support for the team ahead of the World Cup semi final

Mr Allen, from Biddulph, Staffordshire, said: ‘It’s the team England have this year -such a young team and they’re gelling together much better than any of the teams I’ve seen before. That’s why I think we’ll win. I’ve thought it from day one, but especially after our 6-1 win against Panama.

‘I had Harry Kane tattooed because he’s the main man, and the one that will do it for us.

‘He is my favourite player, even though I’m a Stoke City fan and I hate the goals he’s put in against us. 

‘But I’m prepared to put that behind me for the country. Even the haters and pessimists have got behind this World Cup.

‘I haven’t thought as far ahead to the final yet, but I’m sure we will come up with something.

‘If we don’t win, I might have a tattoo of a red rubber stamp saying ‘void’ over the Harry Kane. Or I’m thinking of just going with it.

‘I know quite a few people have had similar tattoos for the World Cup and if we aren’t the winners, it’s just one of those things. I will be disappointed though as a fan.’

‘I already have both arms covered in tattoos, as well as both my legs.’

Mr Allen even went as far as to have 'World Cup Winners' etched beneath Kane's face

He also had 'It's coming home' inked on his arm, pictured

Mr Allen even went as far as to have ‘World Cup Winners’ etched beneath Kane’s face, and also had ‘It’s coming home’ inked on his arm, right

Tattoo artist Bradley Fleming, from Pedantic Ink in Fenton, came up with the idea for Mr Allen – but was surprised on Sunday night when he received a text asking for him to do it for real.

The pair have known each other since 2011 and Mr Allen already has a gorilla design and Whitney Houston portrait on his legs courtesy of Bradley’s needle.

Mr Fleming even came in on his day off to complete the tattoo – and waived hisfee.

The 28-year-old, from Lightwood, said: ‘It all started as a joke. I thought that it would be funny, if we beat Sweden, to have ‘World Cup champions’ – even if we do not win the World Cup.

‘But I do believe that we will win and that football is coming home. If it’s Belgium against England in the final we can definitely win.’

And many have not even booked their return tickets yet with the possibility of England getting to the final leaving them contemplating staying the extra days in Russia to make sure they can attend. 

Charlotte Roxburgh, a Manchester United fan and PE teacher, 28, was so confident England would make the semi-final she booked her flight before the second round clash with Colombia.

Ms Roxburgh, who lives in Dubai, told The Times she spent £350 on a flight via Amsterdam as well as £360 on her ticket.

She said: ‘It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, isn’t it? I’ll have to save when I go back. I’ll be on the baked beans.’ 

British Airways staff have even renamed the check-in gates 'ChecK-ane' after England's captain

British Airways staff have even renamed the check-in gates ‘ChecK-ane’ after England’s captain

The airline said all flights have been fully booked today as fans desperately try to get to Moscow by any means necessary. Pictured is cabin crew member Emma England, who added an extra bit of support to the flights

The airline said all flights have been fully booked today as fans desperately try to get to Moscow by any means necessary. Pictured is cabin crew member Emma England, who added an extra bit of support to the flights

Danny Simpson, 49, of Derbyshire, told the paper he left his house at 2am yesterday to take a flight to Moscow from Heathrow and told work to book him off for a week’s holiday after landing in Russia.

He added: ‘I don’t know what my boss is going to say. He’ll get over it.’

Back in the UK councils have been scrambling to get screens up, with Liverpool confirming their venue yesterday and Southampton, Cambridge and Portsmouth councils considering their options. 

England shirts have sold out completely as people rush to support their team. And Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley has vowed to give away more than a million souvenir shirts – to fans who register for the firm’s app – if the Three Lions go all the way.

A spokesman said: ‘Football’s coming home! The whole country is being swept up by the jubilant mood. If things continue like this we are on course to give away in excess of a million shirts.’

Online searches for ‘flights to Russia’ from the UK have increased by 431 per cent since England won Saturday’s World Cup quarter final match against Sweden.

WHERE CAN YOU WATCH ENGLAND VS CROATIA ON A BIG SCREEN?

As many as 37million people in the UK are expected to tune in via television tomorrow night and could smash the 32.3million record crowd that watched the World Cup final win against West Germany in 1966.

But thousands will be pouring into venues across the UK to watch on big screens.

British Summer Time festival is putting on the largest big-screen event in London since Euro ’96, welcoming 30,000 fans into Hyde Park. 

Meanwhile 10,000 will descend on Pier Head in Liverpool and 8,000 will cram into the Castleford Bowl in Manchester.

More than a hundred thousand England fans will watch tomorrow’s World Cup semi-final on giant screens, including 30,000 at Hyde Park (pictured)

More than a hundred thousand England fans will watch tomorrow’s World Cup semi-final on giant screens, including 30,000 at Hyde Park (pictured)

Other outdoor venues include Flat Iron Square and Boxpark Shoreditch in London, Birmingham’s Archway, Leeds’ Millennium Square, Newcastle’s Times Square and Brighton beach. 

The semi-final average audience across TVs and ITV Hub is expected to be higher than the average of 24.47million which watched the 2012 Olympics closing ceremony, and the 25.2million which saw the 1990 World Cup semi-final defeat to West Germany.

It means tomorrow’s game is set to be Britain’s most-watched sporting event since an average of 32.3million watched England beat West Germany to win the 1966 World Cup final, ratings chiefs BARB’s audience totals archive show.

BARB admitted its ratings system does not yet combine average viewer totals from TV and devices, meaning average audience figures – reported from TVs only – are far lower than the real number of average viewers across TV and devices. 

The website for a World Cup semi-final screening in Hyde Park crashed in seconds as fans scrambled for one of the free 30,000 tickets on Monday afternoon 

The website for a World Cup semi-final screening in Hyde Park crashed in seconds as fans scrambled for one of the free 30,000 tickets on Monday afternoon 

Now that the England team is in with a chance of appearing in Sunday’s final, there has been a 128 per cent increase in online searches for the phrase ‘it’s coming home’ in the last four days.

Search data from 3million internet users, gathered by consumer insights provider Hitwise, also showed a 1,233 per cent rise in searches for ‘England tattoo’ since the World Cup began.

As football fever gripped the nation, searches for ‘England shirt’ rose by 416 per cent, and search term ‘Budweiser’ – the official sponsor of the World Cup – appeared 92 per cent more frequently. 

HOW DO I GET TICKETS FOR THE SEMI FINAL AND HOW CAN I GET TO RUSSIA?

Match tickets are limited via the FIFA website but are being offered on resale sites.

This is because Russians were offered thousands of tickets are face value before the tournament, which they can then sell on.

If England fans get a ticket they’ll need to apply for a visa today to ensure they can enter Russia in time for the game.

Fans wishing to travel this week will either need a valid visa or a FIFA FAN ID, which acts as a visa for people visiting Russia for the World Cup.

Although it’s possible to fast-track a visa application, the shortest time-frame offered online is 72 hours, making it impossible to obtain one before you’d need to fly to Moscow for the Croatia game.

You can, however, apply for a FAN ID here, providing you have a ticket number for an upcoming game or one that has already been played.

Applications take about 10 minutes and should be approved within 24 hours. You can then either print your FAN ID or collect it in Russia.

The document – which includes a unique number and passport-style photo – is also used to enter stadiums and to book free rail travel.

Getting to Moscow is more difficult, with BA selling out of direct flights today.

The airline and Aeroflot are the only carriers offering direct services between Russia and the UK. 

Aeroflot has limited tickets available for one Moscow flight available today starting from £737 while a combination BA/Aeroflot journey with a stop over in Prague is available from £932. 

Meanwhile Aldi has confirmed if England get to the final they will shut their shops at 3pm on Sunday to allow workers to get home and watch the big match at 4pm.

The German chain’s Twitter account said: ‘We’re pretty sure it’s coming home right?

‘If England reach the World Cup final we’re gonna close all our stores in England early at 3pm on Sunday.

‘We want our colleagues to be the 12th man cheering on the lads. #BringItHome’

According to The Telegraph, Marks & Spencer is also running out of Southgate’s famous waistcoat.

It has become a cult fashion item during the World Cup run prompting much media coverage and even a spoof Twitter account.

The match against Croatia has also been dubbed ‘Waistcoat Wednesday’ by some fans and the Moscow branch of M&S has run out of most sizes with fans already there quick to snap them up for around £50 each. 

Pubs and shops are expected to have a bumper day tomorrow with up to 41million pints being enjoyed in a £210million food and drink shopping spree.  

Four million fans will pack England’s 40,000 pubs with 20million pints set to be pulled, up by 10 million on a usual Wednesday, British Beer and Pub Association data showed.

Pub drinks takings will soar to £110million, sales trend data from past England World Cup match days from the BBPA showed.

At home, 21million pints are expected to be drunk tomorrow – 8million more than usual – costing around £23million, BBPA supermarket and off-licence sales data indicated.

Food spending on the match will add up to another £35million in pubs and £45million at home, BBPA and food retail sales data predicted.

Even bigger bar queues are expected than during earlier England World Cup games, when drinkers reported 20-minute queues just to get in some London pubs, and 45-minute wait times at the bar.

Although flights and match tickets will be expensive, fans can still grab themselves a bargain when it comes to accommodation.

Single rooms within a few miles of the city centre are available online for less than £20 a night via Trivago with more central options starting at £60 – but some four and five-star Moscow rooms will cost at least £1,000-per night.

Match tickets are limited via the FIFA website but are being offered on resale sites.

This is because Russians were offered thousands of tickets are face value before the tournament, which they can then sell on.

Up to 10,000 England fans are trying to get to Russia for the biggest World Cup for a generation

Up to 10,000 England fans are trying to get to Russia for the biggest World Cup for a generation

England's win over Sweden in Samara on Saturday put the team one game away from the final

England’s win over Sweden in Samara on Saturday put the team one game away from the final

POLICE PREPARE FOR BUSY NIGHT AS FANS GEAR UP FOR BIG MATCH 

Police are gearing up for England’s clash against Croatia hoping to avoid a repeat of the alcohol-fuelled scenes at the weekend when over-excited fans clambered over cars, buses and emergency vehicles.

Chief Superintendent Graeme Openshaw, from Greater Manchester Police, said: ‘Fans have to strike a balance and we’d ask people not to overstep the line and be respectful of others around them.

‘Unfortunately, we are aware that people have been climbing on emergency services vehicles and blocking buses – not only is this dangerous but this is also stopping people from doing an important job.’

Pink smoke filled the air outside London's Borough market as fans partied the nigh away

Pink smoke filled the air outside London’s Borough market as fans partied the nigh away

Other shirtless fans were seen dancing on the top of buses while waving their drinks in the air along with England flags as traffic was brought to a standstill (fans in Birmingham pictured)

Other shirtless fans were seen dancing on the top of buses while waving their drinks in the air along with England flags as traffic was brought to a standstill (fans in Birmingham pictured)

Nottinghamshire Police warned that as well as an increased presence in the city on Wednesday, a number of other tactics were under discussion including officers potentially applying for banning orders for fans who cause trouble while watching a public showing of the match on television.

This would mean they could not attend any regulated football match for a period of at least three years, and would be stopped from travelling to England games in this country or overseas.

Police forces across the country were inundated with 999 calls following England’s victory over Sweden on Saturday, with many receiving more than on New Year’s Eve, and West Midlands Police experiencing its busiest ever 24-hour period.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) said 387 football-related incidents were recorded, mostly alcohol-related disorder. 

Several celebrating fans jumped on the bonnet of an emergency vehicle in Borough High Street, leaving it severely dented - much to the annoyance of London Ambulance

Several celebrating fans jumped on the bonnet of an emergency vehicle in Borough High Street, leaving it severely dented – much to the annoyance of London Ambulance

Dozens of fans jumped on top of this bus in Manchester as post-match parties got a bit out of hand

Dozens of fans jumped on top of this bus in Manchester as post-match parties got a bit out of hand

The incidents over the weekend included:

  • An ambulance car being smashed up when fans jumped on it near London Bridge
  • A man jumping off the roof of a double decker bus and smashing through the roof of a bus shelter in Clapham
  • Disorder in Northampton that caused roads to be closed
  • Hundreds of people blocking a street in Leicestershire and letting off flares
  • Crowds blocking roads in Southampton and people climbing on top of buses 

Fans from countries like Germany, Brazil, and Spain, who expected to be in the semi-finals instead of England, are also selling off the tickets they no longer need.

If England fans get a ticket they’ll need to apply for a visa today to ensure they can enter Russia in time for the game.

Fans wishing to travel this week will either need a valid visa or a FIFA FAN ID, which acts as a visa for people visiting Russia for the World Cup.

Although it’s possible to fast-track a visa application, the shortest time-frame offered online is 72 hours, making it impossible to obtain one before you’d need to fly to Moscow for the Croatia game.

You can, however, apply for a FAN ID here, providing you have a ticket number for an upcoming game or one that has already been played.

Applications take about 10 minutes and should be approved within 24 hours. You can then either print your FAN ID or collect it in Russia.

The document – which includes a unique number and passport-style photo – is also used to enter stadiums and to book free rail travel.

Even defeat to Croatia in Wednesday’s semi-final would mean playing in the third-place match, which takes place in St Petersburg on Saturday afternoon.

SCHOOL REPLACES BELL WITH THREE LIONS AS WORLD CUP FEVER GROWS 

Football-mad headteacher Chris Rue replaced the bell at Epinay School, South Tyneside, with the Three Lions song

Football-mad headteacher Chris Rue replaced the bell at Epinay School, South Tyneside, with the Three Lions song

A headteacher has replaced his school bell with unofficial England anthem Three Lions by Baddiel & Skinner and the Lightning Seeds.

Football mad Chris Rue surprised pupils while they waited patiently for the bell to signal the end of morning lessons.

But instead of the usual ringing, students were delighted when ‘It’s Coming Home’ blared out of speakers across the playground.

The youngsters, who have been arriving at the school singing the popular song, were ecstatic as they jumped and danced around the classroom, Mr Rue said.

He said: ‘The kids have totally got into the world cup and the way Gareth has got the team playing, it has created a massive football feeling here.

‘The reaction was extreme excitement, the kids were up dancing and jumping around.

‘They’re all singing the song on the way to school anyway.

‘It was just a bit of fun to get us all into the spirit and support the lads as best we can really.

‘We have it planned at least until Wednesday and fingers crossed next week too.’

The single has become hugely popular again during England’s World Cup campaign.

Mr Rue of Epinay School, South Tyneside, Tyne and Wear, posted a video of the school bell going off on the school’s Facebook page where it has been seen almost 2,000 times.

He said teachers and pupils alike wanted to show their support for England ahead of their World Cup semi-final against Croatia on Wednesday.

They installed the bell in June which allows the children to choose different tones and melodies.

Mr Rue added: ‘We have ‘Respect’ by Aretha Franklin play for lunchtime and other songs that have some kind of educational meaning.’

A video of the bell playing out Bob Marley’s ‘Everything’s Gonna Be Alright’ has received more than 3400 views on Facebook.










Source link

Author: Nancy Parker

Nancy Parker is a five time Emmy Award winning journalist and seven time Emmy nominee who has spent almost twenty five years covering news in South Louisiana. She has anchored every prime time newscast at WVUE FOX8 during her twenty year tenure in New Orleans.

Nancy Parker
Nancy Parker is a five time Emmy Award winning journalist and seven time Emmy nominee who has spent almost twenty five years covering news in South Louisiana. She has anchored every prime time newscast at WVUE FOX8 during her twenty year tenure in New Orleans.
http://fifa-world-cup-2018.info

Leave a Reply

Top
%d bloggers like this: