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Saturday, 15 June, 2002, 20:47 GMT 21:47 UK
Fans cheer England victory
Thousands of fans poured into Trafalgar Square
Fans did the conga in Trafalgar Square

The sound of cheering broke the silence of empty streets, as millions of England fans tuned into Saturday's make-or-break World Cup game against Denmark.

Fans in the Japanese stadium, British troops in Afghanistan and millions watching in pubs and homes all jumped for joy as England triumphed with a 3-0 win over Denmark.

The Saturday game and its timing - 1230BST kick-off - came as a relief to supporters, who have followed matches through a series of early morning starts and "sickies".

Drink sales are expected to reach record levels with the prospect of a quarter-final clash with mighty Brazil looking a reality.

The party is set to continue all weekend with good predictions on the weather too.

Wedding delays

Thousands of jubilant England fans sang, did the conga and staged an impromptu street party around Nelson's Column in London's Trafalgar Square after the final whistle blew on Saturday.

Hundreds of black cabs honked their appreciation as delirious England fans jumped into the square's fountain, and police reported no incidents.

Chief Inspector Peter Read of the Metropolitan Police said: "It's been good-natured and friendly and the fans are enjoying themselves."

The only trouble was in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, where 16 people were arrested after two hours of violence between fans and police.

In the Japanese city of Niigata, where the second round match was played, up to 7,000 England fans arrived from Tokyo on planes and bullet trains.

Despite black market ticket prices of up to 350 the vast majority made it into the stadium, rather than watch on the two big screens the city provided.

They could be heard chanting the national anthem as the final 20 minutes of the game set in.

Danish national newspapers had been whipping up the rivalry with claims that the England football team were "wildly overrated peasants".
Rival fans after the game ended
England's joy but Danish despair

The rivalry did nothing to dampen English spirits as fans across the land.

Britain's pubs filled up in time for kick-off, while cinemas and giant screens in cities across the country showed the game.

At Spitalfields market in east London, an estimated 8,000 people followed the action on a huge screen.

Sports meetings from the tennis at Queen's Club to the England v Sri Lanka cricket match in Manchester provided similar facilities.

Life was put on hold across the nation for the match - even by couples getting married.

40,000 bet

Accountant Debbie Keevil, 34, put back her church wedding to fiance Vern Chinn-Shaw, 37, a sales export manager, so their guests at the ceremony in Little Heath, near Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, would not miss the football.

Bookmakers estimated a record one million bets to have been made and one punter put 40,000 on both Germany and England winning their games.

Ladbrokes said the most popular bet had been Michael Owen to score the first goal in a 2-0 win at odds of 14-1.

Hooligans

Although most England fans in the northern city of Niigata found black market tickets easy to come by, many expressed anger at the Football Association for rejecting an offer from Fifa of 1,000 extra tickets.

The FA said its ticket distribution organisation, England fans, had all the tickets it wanted and it did not want to sell them on the street in case they are bought by hooligans.

The Football Supporters' Association has bitterly criticised the decision because they say fans were being forced to pay hundreds of pounds on the black market.

"It's disgraceful", said Steve Jenner, 33, a property developer from Portsmouth who did not have a ticket for the Denmark game.

John Hepple, 63, who travelled to Japan from Stockport, said: "I've not seen any hooligans here.

"There's too much control and it's too far for them to travel."


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 ON THIS STORY
England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson
"Maybe 3-0 was too much"
England's Kieron Dyer
"The game was over at half-time"
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GROUP F
  P GD PTS
SWEDEN 3 +1 5
ENGLAND 3 +1 5
ARGENTINA 3 0 4
NIGERIA 3 -2 1

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