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A sea of red and white in Wiltshire for match
Football fever swept Wiltshire as England made their debut at Euro 2012 on Monday evening.
Across the county, hundreds of fans rushed home from work and gathered in pubs to roar on the Three Lions for their 5pm match with France.
Before kick-off, the national anthem blasted from Wiltshire bars all the way to Poland and Ukraine, where the championship is taking place, and patriotic fans, dressed in red and white, cheered Roy Hodgson’s team to a satisfactory 1-1 draw.
Around 250 fans in The Brunel, in New Road, Chipp-enham, celebrated when Manchester City defender Joleon Lescott gave England a first half lead – but were brought down to earth when France’s midfielder Samir Nasri equalised soon after.
Brunel manager Sian Rhys-Price said: “It was an electric atmosphere in here, with a bit of bad language going on, especially when the French scored.
“I wasn’t personally happy with the result but everybody else seemed quite happy about it and I think they were all just relieved that we didn’t lose.”
In Corsham, The Great Western, in Pound Pill, opened an hour early and welcomed lots of supporters to watch the television coverage of England’s opening match of the tournament, taking place in Donetsk, Ukraine.
Great Western landlord Gordon Wright said: “We’ve got two tellies showing all the games and we’re opening an hour early for the 5pm kick-offs during the tournament. We had a great turnout for the England game on Monday and there was a fantastic atmosphere in here.
“We’ve got a good group of locals who come down here with their mates to enjoy the football and we look forward to showing England’s next match on Friday.”
The Hare & Hounds, in Pickwick, Corsham had a few problems with its television during the game but expect no repeat of the problems for England’s next match.
There was unalloyed joy in Devizes’ premier sports pub, the Bell by the Green, when England took an early lead in its first Euro 2012 fixture against France.
Landlord Paul McDonald said: “The place was packed and it just erupted when England scored. I don’t think anyone expected us to score so early and even when France pulled one back the mood stayed buoyant.
“It was such a great atmosphere in here and I just hope it stays like that for the game against Sweden on Friday. Suddenly from England having no chance at all, people now believe that anything’s possible.”
The Albany Palace, in Park Road, Trowbridge, was packed with fans who made sure they didn’t miss England’s crunch battle with the French.
Footy fan Scott Wallace, who works at Tesco, said: “I’m on my break at the moment and I’m glad I can get to watch some of the match. I’m quite hopeful we can go far in the competition and prove a few doubters wrong.”