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Last Updated: Friday, 9 June 2006, 17:14 GMT 18:14 UK
England fans party in Frankfurt
Royal Air Force handout photo of George Sheath
George Sheath, 8, will walk out with England as team mascot
Thousands of England fans have been in party mood in Frankfurt, enjoying the first game of the World Cup in the sun.

Supporters enjoyed the fine weather by drinking and singing outside bars as old rivals Germany played Costa Rica.

Around 40,000 England fans are expected in Frankfurt for the team's first game against Paraguay on Saturday. British police are helping to patrol the city.

The Queen has sent her good wishes to the England team in a letter to be delivered by Prince William.

The letter wishes the team a "successful and rewarding" World Cup.

The prince, who is president of the Football Association, will pass on the message when he meets the squad before their opening match.

'Peaceful party'

Frankfurt Mayor Petra Roth Mayor Petra Roth said the city would "commemorate a great and peaceful party in the best English tradition".

Sgt Peter Harrold, Insp Juergen Kartmann and "Robbie the bobby"
The idea is that every fan will be happy here in Frankfurt
Police chief Achim Thiel

Thousands of England fans without tickets will watch Saturday's game on giant screens situated in the middle of the River Main.

Among the fans who have already arrived was Anthony Turner, from Manchester, who said: "Everything is lovely. The Germans have been great and the atmosphere will be second to none. With all the fans here, it's like being at home."

His children Ben, 10, and Millie, eight, said their favourite player was Gary Neville, who is dating their aunt, Emma Hadfield.

'Beautiful' city

Londoners Tony Yeates and Stephen Smith intend to pack as much sightseeing as possible into their five weeks away.

Mr Smith said: "From what I've seen so far, I think this will be the greatest World Cup ever. And if England win, well, my hairs are standing up on the back of my neck just thinking about it!"

The presence of British police in Frankfurt is the first time they have been deployed at a sporting event outside of the UK in uniform.

In other developments:

  • UK police in Frankfurt on Friday said 125 Britons with banning orders - out of a total of about 3,500 - had failed to surrender their passports. A further 21 people had been prevented from travelling because of evidence against them, police said.

  • In two separate incidents at Manchester Airport on Friday morning, two men suspected of trying to travel to Germany to cause trouble were prevented from boarding flights to Europe. Both were due to appear before Manchester Magistrates' Court on Friday afternoon.

  • Official England merchandise sales are set to beat previous records for a single tournament with 18 million England items, including replica shirts, bought between January and March. That is more than were sold in the entire six months before Euro 2004, the Football Association said.

  • Eight-year-old George Sheath, whose father is a soldier serving with 16 Signal Regiment in Germany, will walk out as England team mascot when they play Paraguay. The keen footballer was one of 33 children to win the McDonalds draw.

  • A "fans' embassy" has been launched in Frankfurt by the Football Supporters' Federation, offering advice to England fans in Germany.

  • Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard's fiancées, Coleen McLoughlin and Alex Curran, were among the first of the England footballers' partners to arrive at the spa resort of Baden-Baden.

  • Wayne Rooney's 74-year-old grandmother Pat Morrey has joined in the national mood by decorating her Merseyside home with 22 England flags.

  • Electricity usage in the UK is expected to increase by 1,500 megawatts - the equivalent of 600,000 kettles being switched on at the same time - during England's game with Paraguay, the National Grid said.




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