Football fans full of hope in Blackpool ahead of England's crunch match with Ukraine

England fans dressed in football shirts and clutching the national flag gathered at the Newton Arms in Norcross this evening to cheer on Gareth Southgate's men as they look to book a date against Denmark in the semi-final of Euro 2020.

Saturday, 3rd July 2021, 11:25 pm

The Three Lions have yet to concede a goal at the summer tournament and the resort - along with the rest of the country - has its fingers crossed and its breath held for a special evening in Rome.

Excitement has been building all day for those who dare to dream that England will march past Ukraine on the path to glory, with fans and pundits alike optimistic there will be celebrations on the final whistle.

There will be little support from the stands, though. Fans were urged not to travel as Italy remains on the UK's amber list, though support for Harry Kane and co. remains rapturous regardless of pandemic restraints.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Hannah Hill, from London, getting ready to enjoy England v Ukraine at the Newton Arms pub in Norcross on Saturday, July 3, 2021 (Picture: Dan Martino for The Gazette)

Pictures showed the players looking relaxed on the pitch in the couple of hours before the 8pm kick-off, while England fans - many of them expats already living abroad - posed in front of the Colosseum ahead of the game.

At the Newton Arms, where punters will enjoy the game in a screening zone specially-built for the Euros, Hannah Woodhams from London said: "It's been an absolutely amazing atmosphere.

"We really are daring to dream we are going to win."

Landlord Aaron Johnson added: "I remember the World Cup and the optimism surrounding it. We are starting to hear and see that from the guests now.

Football fans getting ready to enjoy England v Ukraine at the Newton Arms pub in Norcross on Saturday, July 3, 2021 (Picture: Dan Martino for The Gazette)

"We are already nearly fully booked for the semi-final and the final and the atmosphere from all the guests has been amazing."

Tonight will see the men's team attempt to qualify for their first European Championship semi-final for 25 years.

England’s Lionesses reached the Euros semi-final in 2017 but were knocked out after being beaten 3-0 by the Netherlands.

Southgate’s squad, meanwhile, reached the semi-final of the World Cup in 2018.

Football fans getting ready to enjoy England v Ukraine at the Newton Arms pub in Norcross on Saturday, July 3, 2021 (Picture: Dan Martino for The Gazette)

If the team manage a victory, they will face Denmark next week.

Customers and staff at the Newton Arms have raised more than £1,000 for Headway Blackpool Wyre and Fylde, which helps those with brain injuries as well as their families.

It is thanks to our loyal readers that we can continue to provide the trusted news, analysis and insight that matters to you. For unlimited access to our unrivalled local reporting, you can take out a subscription and help support the work of our dedicated team of reporters.