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Fans' joy as England make it through

PUBLISHED: 21:38 23 June 2010 | UPDATED: 17:30 01 July 2010

Sarah Brealey

England have made it through to the last 16 of the World Cup finals and will now face on Sunday.

Fans taking time out to watch their crucial final World Cup group match against Slovenia were rewarded with a 1-0 victory, taking them into the knockout phase of the competion.

Sarah Brealey

England have made it through to the last 16 of the World Cup finals and will now face on Sunday.

Fans taking time out to watch their crucial final World Cup group match against Slovenia were rewarded with a 1-0 victory, taking them into the knockout phase of the competion.

Supporters gathered in pubs, workplaces and at home to watch yesterday afternoon's game in which Jermain Defoe scored the decisive goal.

At The Marlborough Arms in Spencer Street, Norwich, about 100 fans watched the match on two big screens.

Owner John Linford said: “The pub was the busiest it's been for any of the three England games so far. Usually if there are 10 people in on a Wednesday afternoon, that's good.

“The atmosphere was a bit nervous after the first two games. Everyone has watched and read all the hype and the speculation about who is and isn't going to play.

“The goal settled everyone down, but the last 10 minutes were very tense as England held on. There were some great tackles going in.

“The World Cup has been very good for business. We're hoping for another busy day on Sunday - especially if we're playing Germany.”

Some city employers put special arrangements in place to allow staff to watch the match,

Katy Hurren, a spokesman for Aviva and RAC, said: “The week running up to the start of World Cup coincided with our marking the first anniversary of our name change to Aviva in the UK, so it's been a joint cause for celebrations.

“We've encouraged staff to embrace the cultural spirit of the event through a fun programme designed to get everyone involved, not just the die-hard football fans. Global food has been on the menu in our canteens, giving staff the chance to try cuisines from across the world.

“We have also be encouraged staff to 'adopt a football team' and with it develop understanding of other cultures around the world.

“Those staff wishing to take time off to watch England play Slovenia will need to have agreed this with their respective managers, as with any holiday or absence.

“Given that staff here in our Norwich contact centre might not have been able to take time off, we have television screens set up so that they can watch the game. We have done our best to be as flexible as possible for those staff keen to watch the game, while of course ensuring the smooth running of the business.”

Mark Langlands, a spokesman for Norfolk County Council, said: “We have been flying the St George's flag at County Hall to show our full support for the England team since the competition began.

“A number of people have asked to book holiday time for the crunch game against Slovenia and that has been allowed, providing a service to the public continues to operate as usual.

“Although our car park is a little quieter than usual, very many people are still perfectly happy to carry on working as normal - either because they are totally uninterested in football, or perhaps their interest in the England team has understandably waned in the light of recent performances!”

The accident and emergency department at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital was deserted during the match.

"There is absolutely no-one in A&E. It is completely empty," said spokesman Andrew Stronach.

He said a few people had taken time off work but in general it was business as usual for staff.

Grant Bather, spokesman for Virgin Money, said: “I think it is pretty much a full turnout. It is business as usual. The match might be on in the background but it is a normal working day."

Are you organising a World Cup event? Contact World Cup Walshy by calling 01603 772436 or emailing peter.walsh@archant.co.uk

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