SLIDESHOW: Three Lions fans still proud after defeat

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Optimism remains strong among England fans in Blackpool despite a narrow defeat in the Three Lions’ opening World Cup game on Saturday.

The Burlington, on Lytham Road, South Shore, could not be faulted in its bid to get into the spirit of the tournament in Brazil.

England fans in The Burlington pub, Lytham Road, South Shore.

England fans in The Burlington pub, Lytham Road, South Shore.

Flags of every nation taking part in the competition have been draped all around the pub as fans who gathered in front of the many TV screens started the evening predicting an England victory over Italy.

Andrea Taylor, 40, of Millbrook Mews, Lytham, said: “We’ve got as good a chance as anyone.

“We will win 3-1 and all of our young kids will have an amazing impact on the game.”

Ian Sharpe, of South Shore, said: “It’s going to be exciting and we will give a good account of ourselves.

“We’ve got a good team of youngsters and it’s about time we paid a bit more respect to those coming through the ranks.

“They play Premier League football and there’s no reason why they shouldn’t step up to the big stage.

Martin Raybould, 64, of Lytham Road, added: “I’m looking forward to it, especially if we win because it keeps the momentum going.”

But sadly, there was soon a feeling of ‘here we go again’ as Italy took the lead after 35 minutes.

The pub erupted less than two minutes later when Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge equalised after meeting a Wayne Rooney cross.

The fearless attacking football raised hopes in the crowds, and hopes are still high for the rest of the tournament despite Mario Balotelli’s winner.

Matt Raybould, 37, from South Shore, added: “It was frustrating overall.

“The game was there for us to win against an average Italian side.”

Becky Smith, 26, from South Shore, plays for Wren Rovers FC, and was watching the game with her friends as part of a hen night.

She said: “Two or three months before the World Cup everyone was calling for the kids to be played, but it hasn’t come off.

“We can get out of the group and reach the quarter finals, but it will end there.”