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Last Updated: Sunday, 25 June 2006, 21:40 GMT 22:40 UK
England fans party into the quarter-finals
By Claire Heald
BBC News, Stuttgart

England fans cheered their team into the quarter-finals in Stuttgart's main square on Sunday.

England fans dressed as Jedis
The Jedi say Beckham used the force

After trouble on Saturday night, 24,000 supporters enjoyed the game amid a peaceful atmosphere.

David Beckham's goal cracked open the lid on celebrations in Stuttgart.

It had been a knotted, nervous atmosphere among fans watching the game in the city centre until his swirling strike sailed into the corner of the net.

When he scored on the hour, beer flew overhead as fans let their tension go in an eruption of celebrations, even though the picture broke up on the big screen.

"Cometh the hour cometh the man. A superb free kick," said Paul Kimberley, from Redditch.

Sleeping fan
The first half failed to entertain the majority of fans

England's performance was "terrible" in the words of many fans, but the goal started the quarter-final party for the thousands watching here.

About 2,500 supporters sang on the steps at the bar where trouble started between rival English and German fans on Saturday night.

But this time they chanted at each other as there were no opposing fans to shout at.

Optimism

It had been a different story at half-time.

Clouds gathered overhead and the crowd stood quietly in the square.

It seemed England fans had sung themselves hoarse the previous night and earlier in the day.

Gary Cooling
Nerves got to Gary Cooling in the first half

"It's the same old England, dull. The atmosphere has been flat because everybody's nervous," said Gary Cooling from Huddersfield. "Once we score it'll kill the nerves."

Thanks to that goal the captain came in for the most praise at full time.

"Beckham's really leading the team now," said Kevin Laurence. He was watching England's performance with friend Stuart Iles.

The pair added: "We were awful but I think we can go all the way."

"David Beckham scored because he used the force," said Debbie Fuller from London, who was celebrating in the square with her brother and a friend - all dressed as Jedi Knights.

'100% effort'

One of the British police on the ground here, PC Robert Pritchard, nicknamed "Robbie the Bobby", said that the fact that Beckham vomited showed his level of commitment .

PC Robert Pritchard
As good as having children, says "Robbie the Bobby"

"The performance could have been better but at least we won. If he's sick, then that's absolutely 100% effort. It means another week for us in Germany. It's as good as my children being born."

Andy May, Mike Drake and Dave Taylor, from Chester, offered their views:

"Hargreaves was terrible", "We should give Lennon more of a run-out", "Rooney should get a knighthood, we need a Sir Wayne."

"Bis bald in Berlin," they added in perfect German - it means "See you in the capital."




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