Iceland Name Swede Hamren As New Coach

 Sweden’s then head coach Erik Hamren attends his last press conference as the head coach of Sweden’s national football team at Sweden’s training ground in Saint-Nazaire during the Euro 2016 football tournament. JONATHAN NACKSTRAND / AFP

 

Former Sweden coach Erik Hamren was on Wednesday announced as Iceland’s new manager, replacing Heimir Hallgrimsson who stepped down after leading the island nation to its first World Cup in Russia.

Selected ahead of 30 other candidates, the 61-year-old now faces the task of taking the team to Euro 2020, which would be their third major championship in a row after reaching the Euro 2016 quarter-finals in France and the World Cup in Russia earlier this summer.

“I like the challenge and I believe we can do it,” said Hamren, who has been a coach for more than 25 years at the highest level in Sweden, Denmark and Norway.

“I’m coming into a new country and new team. It’s important that I won’t change everything. We have to hold onto the things that have worked well in the past.”

Iceland’s former coach Hallgrimsson, 51, stepped down in July, saying it would be “good for the team to have a new vision”.

Hamren signed a two-year contract with the possibility of an extension for another two years.

Under his leadership, Sweden qualified for Euro 2012 and Euro 2016 but were knocked out in the group stage on both occasions.

But Hamren failed to take Sweden to the 2014 World Cup after losing in a playoff to Portugal.

He previously coached several clubs in his home country but won his only league titles with Denmark’s Aalborg and Norway’s Rosenborg.

Hamren had been the technical director of South African club Mamelodi Sundowns since January before resigning two days ago to take on the Iceland job.

He will be assisted by Freyr Alexandersson, who has been coaching the Icelandic women’s team for five years.

The two men will begin work in September for the start of the inaugural UEFA Nations League.

“I’m very happy getting Freyr into the setup with me,” Hamren added. “In the short time since I met him he has impressed me hugely.”

Iceland are to face Switzerland on September 8 and Belgium on September 11.

AFP

France’s Pavard Wins World Cup Goal Of The Tournament

France’s defender Benjamin Pavard crosses the ball during the Russia 2018 World Cup final football match between France and Croatia at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. 
Jewel SAMAD / AFP

 

France right-back Benjamin Pavard has won the 2018 World Cup goal of the tournament award for his stunning strike against Argentina, FIFA announced on Wednesday.

The 22-year-old Stuttgart defender ran onto a left-wing cross from Lucas Hernandez and sent a right-footed half-volley spinning into the top corner to level eventual champions France’s last-16 tie with Argentina at 2-2 in the 57th minute.

France went on to win the game 4-3 before beating Croatia in the final on July 15.

Pavard’s effort won a public vote to be named the best of the 169 goals scored in the tournament, seeing off competition from Colombian midfielder Juan Quintero’s free-kick against Japan and Luka Modric’s goal in Croatia’s group-stage thumping of Argentina.

AFP

Macron Congratulates Putin For Hosting ‘Perfect’ World Cup

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) shakes hands with French President Emmanuel Macron during their meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow on July 15, 2018. Yuri KADOBNOV / AFP POOL / AFP

 

French President Emmanuel Macron congratulated Russia’s President Putin for his “perfect” organisation of the World Cup as the two leaders prepared to watch the final on Sunday.

Macron and his wife Brigitte met the Russian leader at the Kremlin on Sunday afternoon before the match between France and Croatia at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium.

Macron told Putin he wanted “to congratulate you as the organising country for how well this event has passed off. It has not only been watched around the world, but the whole world has come here” to watch it.

“To do it in safe conditions and with everything going perfectly was a challenge, so well done for that.”

Putin congratulated France for having reached the final.

“I am sure we will see an interesting, intense, close match which millions of spectators across the world will enjoy,” he said.

Putin met earlier with Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic.

She congratulated him on his hosting of the competition, saying it was an “example of how such an event should be organised”.

She presented Putin with a Croatia number-9 football shirt inscribed with his name.

Several other world leaders and sporting and show business stars were due to attend the final.

AFP

Croatia Set For ‘Historic’ World Cup Final

Croatia’s supporters celebrate after winning the Russia 2018 World Cup semi-final football match between Croatia and England, at the main square in Zagreb on July 11, 2018. Denis Lovrovic / AFP

 

Excitement reached fever-pitch levels in Croatia as the small nation counted down to its first-ever World Cup final against France on Sunday.

France, the 1998 winners, are firm favourites to win the match at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium but Croatia, led by Luka Modric on the pitch, have the players to spring a shock.

“Sons of Croatia, we are waiting for you! Come home so we can celebrate together!” read the front page of the Jutarnji List newspaper.

“There are special days in life that will be remembered forever. Today is such a day. A day when Croatia enters world sports history, and immortality.”

With a population of just over four million people, Croatia would be the smallest World Cup winners since Uruguay in 1950 if they triumph.

Croatian red-and-white chequerboard patterns are everywhere —  on car hoods, shop windows, trams, and on public monuments.

Waiters, street vendors and TV presenters are wearing Croatian jerseys while shops have changed their displays to show their support.

Tens of thousands are expected to watch the match at fan zones in the capital, including on the main Jelacic square.

Despite heavy rain early Sunday, supporters began gathering in squares and streets, sheltering under cafe hoardings.

“It’s a David-and-Goliath tie. We didn’t think twice about the drive, this a historic moment for the country,” said one fan who had driven from Switzerland.

Lorenzo Abbadi, 23, an Italian dressed in Croatian colours, said he had driven nine hours from Assisi in central Italy to support the Balkan country.

“Italy weren’t in the World Cup, we love football, so I thought I’d watch the final here,” he told AFP.

Croatian newspaper front pages blazed with fervour.

“Let’s show our teeth to the French!” said Sportske Novosti alongside a large photo of Mario Mandzukic, who scored the winner in Croatia’s 2-1 semi-final win over England.

“The present belongs to Luka Modric, the future will go to Kylian Mbappe,” said Jutarnji List, while Slobodna Dalmacija said “We are already champions whatever happens,” a view shared by many Croatians.

Church postponed 

A church in Slavonski Brod, the hometown of Mandzukic, postponed a mass to allow the congregation to watch the final.

Many fans want the team to take revenge for Croatia’s defeat by France in the 1998 semi-final.

“It’s clear that we have revenge to take on the French after 1998,” Filip Gudelj, owner of a Swiss construction company, told AFP in Zagreb.

But for Igor Stimac, a member of the 1998 “Vatreni” (the “Fiery Ones” in Croatian) the final is not about revenge.

“In my mind, there is only joy, pride, happiness. It is something magnificent, almost incredible,” Stimac, 50, told the Tportal website.

In a video posted in Facebook, Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic thanked World Cup hosts Russia from a plane headed to Moscow.

“In the name of all Croatia fans, I thank Russia for a warm welcome. You were great hosts. Tonight cheer for Croatia!” she said in Russian, dressed in a chequerboard jersey in front of cheering fans.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic urged employers to allow their workers time off on Monday to attend a “magnificent welcome homecoming party” that more than 100,000 people are expected to attend.

If Croatia win, the government is considering declaring Monday a public holiday, while the president is scheduled to formally honour coach Zlatko Dalic and the players.

AFP

Croatian Players Will Sacrifice World Cup Final Places If Unfit – Dalic

Croatian Players Will Sacrifice World Cup Final Places If Unfit - Dalic
Croatia’s coach Zlatko Dalic (L) and Croatia’s midfielder Luka Modric hold a press conference at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on July 14, 2018 on the eve of the Russia 2018 World Cup final football match between France and Croatia. Alexander NEMENOV / AFP

 

Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic is prepared to make changes for Sunday’s World Cup final against France if some of his players have not recovered from their exertions in reaching football’s biggest game.

Dalic’s men have been forced to go through three periods of extra-time, against Denmark, Russia and England, to become the smallest country in 68 years to make the final.

“Tomorrow is the World Cup final. Simply, the players know what that is,” Dalic said on Saturday.

“One thing that brings me happiness is that all my players tell me if they are not 100 percent fit. They will concede they are not fit. They know what is at stake but if they are unable to give their all they will tell us. They have such an attitude.”

Ivan Perisic, who scored and set up Mario Mandzukic’s winner in a 2-1 semi-final win over England, was among five Croatian players to miss training on Friday.

“We have nothing to train. We need relaxation and rest to gain freshness for tomorrow,” added Dalic.

“We have some minor injuries, minor problems, and I hope my players will be ready. If not, I have great players on the bench who will be raring to go.”

Dalic, 51, was little known outside his homeland until the tournament, but has masterminded an incredible turnaround in Croatia’s fortunes.

A team boasting the talents of Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic were struggling even to qualify for the World Cup before his appointment in October last year.

His first match in charge was a must-win qualifier away to Ukraine just to make it into a playoff where they beat Greece.

“We are in the World Cup final. That was the influence of our coach,” said Modric.

“Our qualification for the World Cup was in doubt and in the most important game, the first game, he talked us up to give us self-belief and self-confidence. He told us there were still good players despite this crisis.

“Against Ukraine we got the result, we breezed past Greece in the playoff and a great deal of that is due to our coach. What I most like is his sincerity, attitude and approach to every single player. He’s shown his qualities not just as a coach but as a human being.”

Croatia’s players attend a training session at a training field outside the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on July 13, 2018, two days before the Russia 2018 World Cup final football match between France and Croatia.
Odd ANDERSEN / AFP

‘Seismic event’

Croatia’s run to the final has restored the players’ status as national heroes back home after fans had become disenchanted by corruption cases blighting the game in recent years.

Modric was even charged in March over alleged false testimony he gave in the case that saw Croatian football kingpin Zdravko Mamic sentenced to six-and-a-half years in prison.

Modric’s indictment still has to be formally approved by a Croatian court and he is not currently facing arrest.

And Dalic hopes that feel-good factor continues for a nation of just over four million people.

“We can only be happy and proud that despite the crisis, Croatians have put aside the problems and the hardship,” said Dalic.

“Win or lose, tomorrow there will be a seismic event in Croatia. Hopefully, there will be four million people out on the streets celebrating.”

Modric’s performances in Russia have seen him emerge as a strong contender to finally end Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi’s 10-year grip on the Ballon d’Or.

The midfielder also won a fourth Champions League in five seasons with Real Madrid in May.

However, Modric insisted it is the collective prize rather than personal acclaim he is seeking on Sunday.

“When you are mentioned in that context it’s very nice and pleasing but I don’t preoccupy myself with that,” he added. “What I want is my international team’s success, not individual awards.”

AFP

Road To Russia 2018 World Cup Final

The World Cup winner’s trophy is seen during the 68th FIFA Congress at the Expocentre in Moscow on June 13, 2018. Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP

 

France play Croatia in the World Cup final at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium on Sunday. Here is each team’s path to the showpiece match.

France

Group stage

France had a helping hand from the video assistant referee (VAR) in their World Cup opener and a dash of good fortune when Paul Pogba’s effort deflected off Australia’s Aziz Behich and into the net to seal a 2-1 win. A low-key 1-0 victory against Peru put them in a prime position to qualify and a 0-0 draw against Denmark ensured they topped their group.

Last 16

A 4-3 win against Lionel Messi’s Argentina was one of the standout matches of the tournament. Goals from Angel Di Maria and Gabriel Mercado cancelled out an early Antoine Griezmann penalty before Benjamin Pavard struck a wonderful equaliser and teenager Kylian Mbappe scored twice. A late Sergio Aguero goal was not enough to save Argentina.

Quarter-final

France had far too much quality for a Uruguay side missing in-form forward Edinson Cavani, winning 2-0. Defender Raphael Varane headed France ahead towards the end of the first half and Griezmann scored thanks to a terrible error by goalkeeper Fernando Muslera.

Semi-final

France knew they had a tough job on their hands to contain a Belgium side boasting Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku but for the second consecutive match they kept a clean sheet. Samuel Umtiti scored the winner in the second half from Griezmann’s corner to take the team through to their third World Cup final as 1-0 winners.

Croatia

Group stage

Croatia were one of only three teams in Russia to win all three of their group matches, beating Nigeria 2-0 in their opener and Iceland 2-1 in their final game. But their standout performance came in their second match, when they swept aside two-time winners Argentina 3-0 to make a huge statement of intent.

Last 16

Goalkeeper Danijel Subasic was the hero, saving three penalties in the shootout as Croatia squeezed past Denmark. Earlier, they had conceded a goal in the opening minute but hit back quickly to equalise through Mario Mandzukic. Luka Modric missed a penalty shortly before the end of extra-time but Croatia survived.

Quarter-final

Croatia looked like they would have too much quality for a solid but limited Russia side but were again taken to extra-time and penalties. Goals from Andrej Kramaric and Domagoj Vida cancelled out a Denis Cheryshev opener but Croatia watched in agony as Mario Fernandes snatched a late equaliser. Ivan Rakitic struck the decisive penalty to send his side through to the semi-finals.

Semi-final

Croatia were again forced to dig deep against England. Zlatko Dalic’s side looked in deep trouble after conceding an early goal in Moscow but regrouped to equalise midway through the second half. Despite dominating the second period they were unable to force a winner until deep into extra-time when Mandzukic struck to break English hearts and win the match 2-1.

AFP

‘Three Lions’ Football Song Tops UK Charts Despite England’s Elimination

'Three Lions' Football Song Tops UK Charts Despite England's Elimination
England’s players greet the supporters after their defeat during the Russia 2018 World Cup semi-final football match between Croatia and England at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on July 11, 2018. FRANCK FIFE / AFP

 

Britain’s best-known football song “Three Lions” topped the British pop charts on Friday — two days after England was knocked out of the World Cup semi-finals by Croatia.

The song, by David Baddiel, Frank Skinner and the Lightning Seeds, containing the line “Football’s coming home”, and has become the de facto anthem of English football since 1996.

England gave its best World Cup performance since 1990 in Russia earlier this week reaching the last four of the tournament.

It is the first time in the British charts’ 66-year history that a song has racked up four spells at number one, each time with the same artist line-up.

The original 1996 version topped the charts twice; a 1998 version with updated verses went to number one, and now the original version is back at the top spot.

Comedians Baddiel and Skinner penned the lyrics to the tune written by The Lightning Seeds’ frontman Ian Broudie.

It was originally written for the 1996 European Championships — the last time England reached for the semi-finals of a major tournament.

The “football’s coming home” refrain, originally referring to England hosting the Euros, came to represent the hope that the sport’s founding nation could win the World Cup, and was sung with gusto by fans throughout Russia 2018.

“England gave us everything at this World Cup,” explained BBC radio chart host Scott Mills.

“The whole country got swept away with it, and ‘Three Lions’ being the official number one shows how we really got behind our amazing team.”

Britain’s best-known football song “Three Lions” topped the British pop charts on Friday — two days after England was knocked out of the World Cup semi-finals by Croatia. AFP Photo

Hope over experience

Baddiel told a 2016 BBC documentary about what lay behind the song’s bittersweet sentiment.

“The lyrics were that thing of trying to chime with the real experience of an England football fan, which is not that we’re going to win — but nor that we think we’re going to lose: it’s somewhere in between,” he explained.

“It’s hope over experience. We’re probably going to lose, but you never know; you never know.”

The track racked up 80,000 “combined sales” this week, made up of 43,000 sales, 6.8 million audio streams and 5.2 million video streams.

Baddiel said on the song returning to number one: “Well, this is awkward.”

Skinner added: “I must say, as consolation prizes go…”

The song in in the top 35 best-selling singles of all-time in Britain, having racked up more than 1.6 million sales.

The only other songs to have managed four stints at the top of the British charts are “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”, “Unchained Melody”, “I Believe” and “Singing The Blues”.

Beaten 2-1 after extra time by Croatia, England face Belgium in the third-place play-off on Saturday.

The two sides met in the group stage, when Belgium won 1-0.

Both had already qualified for the knock-out stages and fielded weakened teams to preserve their best players.

AFP

Croatia Will Have ‘Excess Energy’ For World Cup Final, Says Rakitic

Croatia’s midfielder Ivan Rakitic holds a press conference at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on July 13, 2018, two days before the Russia 2018 World Cup final football match between France and Croatia. Odd ANDERSEN / AFP

 

Croatia midfielder Ivan Rakitic insisted fatigue will not be an issue for the biggest game of his career despite being pushed to three periods of extra-time to make Sunday’s World Cup final.

Barcelona’s Rakitic will make his 71st appearance of the season against France in Moscow after winning a La Liga and Copa del Rey double with the Catalans, more than any player at the World Cup.

“There will be excess power and energy, no worries about that,” Rakitic said on Friday.

Croatia have played 90 more minutes and had a day’s less rest than the French ahead of the final.

But Rakitic believes the pride of representing the smallest country to make the World Cup final in 68 years, with a population of just over four million, will motivate Croatia to create history.

“This is a historic game for not just us, for everybody who is a Croat. There are 4.5 million players on the pitch,” added Rakitic.

“We will carry one another, we will have the energy, we know this is the biggest game of our lives. We want to leave the pitch with our heads held high. We just need a little bit of luck to get the result.”

Croatia Will Have 'Excess Energy' For World Cup Final, Says Rakitic
Croatia’s midfielder Ivan Rakitic controls the ball during the Russia 2018 World Cup semi-final football match between Croatia and England at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on July 11, 2018.
YURI CORTEZ / AFP

 

Ivan Perisic, who scored his side’s equaliser and set up Mario Mandzukic’s winner against England on Wednesday, is nursing a thigh injury.

Perisic missed training on Friday along with Ivan Strinic, Dejan Lovren, Sime Vrsaljko and Danijel Subasic.

AFP

FIFA President, Infantino Describes Russia 2018 As ‘Best World Cup Ever’

FIFA president Gianni Infantino holds a press conference at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on July 13, 2018, two days before the Russia 2018 World Cup final football match between France and Croatia. PHOTO: Jewel SAMAD / AFP

 

FIFA President Gianni Infantino celebrated what he described as the “best World Cup” ever on Friday, thanks to the quality of football and organisation in Russia.

“I was saying this would be the best World Cup ever, today I can say it with more conviction… it is the best World Cup,” Infantino told reporters in Moscow two days ahead of the final between France and Croatia.

Infantino told Russian president Vladimir Putin in a meeting at the Kremlin last week that the world “fell in love with Russia,” over the past four weeks.

And Infantino said preconceived notions of the country had been changed by the positive experiences of more than one million fans who had visited.

“A lot of preconceived ideas have changed thanks to this World Cup,” said Infantino.

“Everyone has discovered a beautiful country, a welcoming country, full of people keen to show to the world what maybe sometimes is said is not what happens here.”

AFP

Argentina’s Nestor Pitana To Referee World Cup Final

Argentine referee Nestor Pitana (R) gestures during the Russia 2018 World Cup quarter-final football match between Uruguay and France at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium in Nizhny Novgorod on July 6, 2018. Johannes EISELE / AFP

 

Nestor Pitana of Argentina will referee the World Cup final between France and Croatia, FIFA announced on Thursday.

Pitana, a former actor who has already refereed four games including the tournament opener between host nation Russia and Saudi Arabia and France’s quarter-final win over Uruguay, will take charge of Sunday’s showpiece at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium.

He will have two more Argentines, Hernan Maidana and Juan Pablo Belatti as assistant referees. Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers will be the fourth official backed up by another Dutchman, Erwin Zeinstra.

In addition to handling a French victory, Pitana was also in charge when Croatia beat Denmark in the last 16 on penalties.

The 43-year-old’s other game in Russia was Sweden’s 3-0 group-stage victory over Mexico.

In Brazil in 2014, Pitana refereed four matches. The last was France’s 1-0 loss to eventual champions Germany in the quarter-finals.

For the third-place playoff between Belgium and England in Saint Petersburg on Saturday, FIFA have selected Iranian referee Alireza Faghani.

AFP

Mental Strength Carried Croatia To World Cup Final, Says Lovren

Croatia’s defender Dejan Lovren celebrates after winning the Russia 2018 World Cup semi-final football match between Croatia and England at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on July 11, 2018.
Jewel SAMAD / AFP

 

Croatia have relied on mental strength to defy limited resources and become the smallest nation in 68 years to reach a World Cup final, said defender Dejan Lovren.

Zlatko Dalic’s men have taken the long road to a meeting with France in Moscow on Sunday after three lots of extra-time and two penalty shootouts in the knockout phase to squeeze past Denmark, Russia and England.

Born to Croatian parents in the Bosnian city of Zenica, Lovren was forced to flee to Germany at just three years old when the Bosnian War broke out in 1992.

His family eventually settled back in Croatia and the Liverpool defender believes a tough upbringing and fierce desire to make the nation of just over four million people proud are key motivating factors.

“I think it is our mentality. We went through again a lot… wars, all these things, and even now the situation is not the best. But it is unbelievable how many talents we have in sports,” Lovren told reporters after Croatia ended England’s World Cup dreams with a 2-1 semi-final win.

“We knew we could write history and we did it. Now there is only one game left to make it forever.”

Lovren and his teammates have already gone further than Croatia ever have before at a World Cup but can become legends if they gain revenge for France’s semi-final victory in the 1998 World Cup.

French right-back Lillian Thuram scored his only two goals in a storied 142-cap international career in that semi-final 20 years ago.

“I think now in many years people will remember us, not the ’98 team. This is what I wanted, this is why I’m proud and I deserve this,” added Lovren.

“I was only nine. I remember my mum was screaming and she was crying after the France game. People were talking about Lillian Thuram, where did he come from? Maybe it is our time for revenge.”

Having seen off Argentina, Uruguay, and Belgium in 90 minutes and had an extra day’s rest following their semi-final on Tuesday, France will be heavy favourites to make amends for defeat to Portugal on home soil in the final of Euro 2016 on Sunday.

However, Croatia have grown used to beating the odds and will relish the role of underdogs once more.

“France are definitely the favourites, there is no hiding from that, but we like that,” added Lovren. “We like to be the underdogs from day one.

“Without being arrogant. I think if you are in the final, you are the two best teams in the world.”

AFP

England Brace For World Cup Lift

 England supporters react while watching the Russian 2018 World Cup round of 16 football match Colombia against England at the holidays resort of Magaluf in Calvia, on the Spanish Balearic Island of Mallorca, on July 3, 2018.  JAIME REINA / AFP

 

England’s Jesse Lingard captured the mood of a nation barely able to contain its excitement as the World Cup semi-final against Croatia looms.

An estimated 32 million people across Britain are expected to tune in at 1800 GMT on Wednesday as Gareth Southgate’s team take the next step in their attempt to repeat the success of 1966.

Prince William, the president of the Football Association, issued a rallying cry as the country prepared to grind to a halt.

“The whole country is right behind you tonight. Come on England – it’s coming home!”

British Prime Minister Theresa May also sent the team a good luck message.

Even if England reach Sunday’s final, neither William nor Prime Minister May will not attend the match because of Britain’s diplomatic boycott of the tournament over a nerve agent attack in England this year.

Such is the feverish atmosphere that the system crashed when London Mayor Sadiq Khan announced 30,000 free tickets would be made available to watch the game in Hyde Park via a ballot.

Actor Hugh Grant and many others heeded the Sun newspaper’s call to wear a waistcoat on #WaistcoatWednesday — following the lead of Southgate.

British Airways handed out waistcoats to passengers travelling to Moscow.

“Perhaps people feel they (waistcoats) also reflect in some way this young likeable England side: They’re bold, innovative, endearing — a hark back to a more genteel, civilised era,” said the Daily Mail.

“The inspiring diversity of Gareth Southgate’s youthful team reflects the hopes of a nation tired of political battles and the grind of an economy spluttering badly,” said the Daily Mirror.

Timberlake screening  

Concerts and shows have been cancelled or altered as performers bow to the inevitable.

American pop sensation Justin Timberlake bowed to the inevitable and made arrangements to screen the match before his show in London.

“I heard there’s a big game on tomorrow before our show,” Timberlake wrote on Twitter.

“So I had a little chat with @TheO2.”

“For the first time ever… we’re going to play this England-Croatia match up on my big screens,” he said.

Pub landlords are licking their lips ahead of the match, with an estimated 10 million extra pints predicted to be sold.

Police have warned fans to behave, listing more than 300 incidents of “significant disorder” that occurred after Saturday’s victory over Sweden.

However, Mark Roberts, head of football policing for The National Police Chiefs’ Council, is relieved Croatia is not a car producer.

He said when England lost to Germany on penalties in the Euro ’96 semi-finals, fans damaged Volkswagen and Mercedes cars.

Travellers will hope Border Control employees are more attentive than they were during the last-16 match against Colombia.

“The worst queuing occurred during the World Cup game when the number of desks manned dropped from typically 22 to 11 and the queue time increased to three hours,” John Holland-Kaye, Heathrow chief executive, wrote in a letter to Border Force.

AFP