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Friday, 21 June, 2002, 04:20 GMT 05:20 UK
Countdown to kick-off
England fans
England fans are out in force in Shizuoka
England v Brazil | Quarter-final
Fri Jun 21 2002 | 0730 BST | Shizuoka
Live on BBC1 & Radio Five Live


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England and Brazil fans arrived early in Shizuoka to set a colourful scene for the World Cup quarter-final as the countdown to kick-off began amid an atmosphere of huge expectation.

The sprawling stadium complex was awash with supporters of both countries - as the two old World Cup rivals prepared for their first meeting in the competition for 32 years.

England's fans arrived in Shizuoka well in advance of the game, and were seeking out the black market in a desperate attempt to buy tickets for a game that is expected to be a 50,600 sell-out.

The latest epic World Cup encounter between England and Brazil was front page news in Japan, with The Daily Yomiuri newspaper previewing the game in detail throughout its morning edition.

And once again David Beckham, now one of the most famous faces in Japan, was the centre of attention.

Beckham's status as a Japanese idol was illustrated on the news pages, with pictures of the Manchester United star signing autographs for schoolchildren given a high profile.

Japan's youngsters have copied his hairstyle, while sales of the sunglasses the England captain wore when he arrived in the country have tripled during the World Cup.

It all provided the backdrop for the game which has become the most eagerly-awaited in the tournament.

And the carnival of colour began hours before kick-off, with Brazil and England fans mingling in the parks and open spaces around the Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa.

They arrived in their thousands early on and walked through the vast Osagayama Sports Park which has the stadium as its centrepiece.

Japanese supporters had divided loyalties, with many sporting the white of England and others choosing the famous Brazilian yellow.

Brazil fan waves the flag for his country
Brazil - a nation awaits

And the world's media had again filled the vast press centre, set up in a nearby indoor sports arena, hours before the kick-off.

The weather in Shizuoka was in complete contrast to the downpours of Thursday, with warm temperatures and occasional sunshine breaking through.

England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson admitted he would have been happy to have played the game in the rain - but as the 1530 local time kick-off in Shizuoka approached, it looked unlikely he would get his wish.

Fans faced a trek to reach the giant stadium complex, located an hour's drive away from the city centre of Shizuoka.

And security was tight around all areas as the Japanese hosts maintained the strict controls that have marked the World Cup.

The teams were expected to arrive around 90 minutes before kick-off, with England clearing up injury doubts over Michael Owen and Paul Scholes as they set their sights on their first World Cup victory against Brazil and a place in the semi-final in Saitama.


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 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Sport's Mike Ingham
"Owen kept everybody waiting but did train"
England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson
"Owen will start the game"
Brazilian legend Pele
"We have two or three players who can make the difference"
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