England’s footballers are hoping to make history tonight when they face Denmark in the Euro 2020 semi-final.
If they beat the Danes, it will be the first time England have played in a major men’s final since Bobby Moore lifted the World Cup in 1966 – that’s 55 years of hurt (as if we needed reminding), fact fans.
The winning side will face Italy at Wembley Stadium on Sunday after a tense penalty shoot-out against Spain secured their place in the final.
Much like their Italian counterparts yesterday, the England fans that the Bedford Independent spoke to were confident that Gareth Southgate could take the team all the way.
“I think England will win 2-0,” said DJ, football presenter and Bedford resident, Spoony.
“They look solid at the back, Harry Kane is hitting form at the right time and the thought of facing Raheem Sterling will be giving their back four sleepless nights.
“Most importantly, Gareth Southgate has got the team playing with an assured confidence.”
England fan and communications and marketing manager at Bedford School, Mandy Alison, said that the tournament has brought people together and that, “…it has been such a tonic to see so many happy people, celebrating their country’s win, whatever their nationality.
“For me, ‘Player of the Tournament’ has to be goalkeeper Jordan Pickford. Having not conceded a single goal in the five games played, he is showing all the hallmarks of a legend and has to be up there with the likes of David Seaman and Peter Shilton.”
Mandy is predicting a nail-biting match tonight but says she’s going for a 2-0 victory.
“It won’t be easy and knowing England they will have us on the edge of our seats the whole time.”
Pubs, traditionally a hub for fans to congregate to watch and celebrate/commiserate, have had a turbulent 18 months, so it’s no surprise that landlords are looking forward to welcoming customers through their doors tonight.
Ronnie Toms, landlord of the Devonshire Arms, said: “I’m very much looking forward to the game tonight, with both excitement and trepidation.
“In my 50-something years of watching the England football team, I don’t think I’ve seen a more together, collective, strong group of players.”
As an Arsenal fan, Ronnie’s star player is 19-year-old Bukayo Saka. “He literally has the world at his feet and takes whatever is thrown at him in his stride.
“Denmark are going to be a big test for England, but I think Gareth and the boys will be too strong for them, then on to the final and who knows maybe, just maybe, it may finally be coming home.”
Tim Edwards, owner of Beerfly, said that despite Denmark beating England at Wembley back in October, we’re now the stronger side.
“I’m predicting 2-0 to England and then we’ll take our run of clean sheets into the final and there’s good reason to believe that we can win the tournament at home on Sunday evening.”
Asked for his team, sorry, beer selection for this evening, Tim said: “I’ve chosen Belief, a 6.5% IPA from Beak Brewery in Lewes, EAst Sussex.
“For Sunday, it’s got to be Glory, a 10.5% [please drink responsibly – Ed] from Northern Monk in Leeds, where England midfield marshall, Kalvin Phillips plies his trade.
“Come on England!”
View from the Vikings…
Nick Kier, founding partner of Lane and Holmes estate agents has Danish family members, so is preparing for some friendly banter tonight. “Both my parents were born in Denmark but came to England before I was born,” he said.
“My cousins will definitely be in touch across this evening!
“I think that the competition has given the nation a boost and clearly if England go all the way and win the tournament that will be a very nice ending to what has been a very difficult sixteen months for so many people.
“Mind you given our wonderful local Italian community it is going to be very interesting to see who ends up with the bragging rights if England makes it through this evening.”
Danish-born Bedford resident, Britt Plaugborg, acknowledged that her national team has had a very rough start to the tournament, after their star player, Christian Eriksen suffered a heart attack in their opening game against Belgium.
“I think the players were a bit in shock for the first two games,” she told the Bedford Independent.
“But as Christian started to recover in hospital they played much more “free” – and actually more as a team. It’s a problem when you have a big profile player like Eriksen on your team as the game tends to be centred around him. But now they all have to up their game – and I really think they have.
“An optimistic 2-0 is my prediction. But don’t really care about the score as long as we win.
“Let’s see what happens tonight. Italy, England and Denmark I think are worthy finalists….but I believe history will repeat and the Vikings will arise victorious.”