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Friday, 21 June, 2002, 14:01 GMT 15:01 UK

England fans mourn defeat

England came to a near standstill on Friday as football fans watched the national team's World Cup hopes dashed in a 2-1 defeat by Brazil.

" We played with fantastic spirit and determination "
Tony Blair

Ahead of the quarter-final clash, roads and public transport were busier than normal as people made an early start to get to pubs or workplaces in time.

But once the 0730 BST kick-off had passed the nation's rush hour was like hush hour.

Following the match, Prime Minister Tony Blair said he was "devastated" by England's exit but he was full of praise for the team's performance.

And after a personal phone call with England manager Sven Goran Eriksson, Mr Blair promised to arrange a reception for the team at No 10 on their return home.

The scenes of joy at England's early lead and pain at their eventual defeat in the stadium in Japan were repeated back home as fans up and down the country watched the game unfold.

An estimated five million people packed about 30,000 pubs that had extended licensing hours.

A crowd of about 12,000 watched on a giant screen in London's Trafalgar Square, which has been scene of violence on previous footballing occasions.

But this time police reported just five arrests for minor offences.

Broadcasters predicted the clash could produce some of the highest viewing figures in television history.

Bookmakers anticipate a record betting turnover of up to 20m on the game, with most punters backing England.

But one has more reason than most to be crying into his beer as he put 100,000 on England to win the World Cup.

The unnamed man, from the West Midlands, got odds of7/2 at a Ladbrokes shop in Birmingham.

The Co-operative Bank's headquarters in Manchester was among offices laying on special facilities for workers.

As 800 disappointed fans went back to work Karen Appleton, 40, summed up their feelings: "It was a roller coaster of emotions.

"I have supported England allthe way, but Brazil are just class, they are in a class of their own".

Many fans in the City of London were inconsolable at the end of the match.

Trading had got off to a slow start as workers watched the game.

Dan Brook, 20, who works in accounts, said: "I'm sulking now. I'll go back to work, but drown my sorrows this evening."

Tearful fans

In Birmingham's Broad Street there was a large police presence to avoid a repeatof the aftermath of the Denmark game when supporters jumped from bus roofs.

In the Sports Cafe, fans were close to tears.

The Samaritans anticipate an increase in calls.

A spokesman said: "All the World Cup could do is act as a trigger to people whoare already suffering from depression or distress to call The Samaritans".

In Japan, Prince Andrew joined the thousands of fans who thronged the stadium in Shizuoka.

Meanwhile Mr Blair took time off from the EU summit in Seville to speak to the England manager on Friday afternoon.

He congratulated him on "the fantastic job he'd done" and asked the England manager to pass on the best wishes to the team.

He told him that "people should be proud of the team and how far they'd come".

Earlier he said: "Before we went into the tournament, who would ever have thoughtwe would have come this far?

"We beat Argentina, we played with fantastic spirit and determination, we arereally, really proud of the England team and fans."

For Brazilian fans it was time to celebrate.

At Bar Madrid, in central London, about 500 Brazilian fans were jubilant at the result.

Geovane Dos Santos said: "It is the best performance by Brazil that I have seen.

"Brazil and England were the best two teams in the tournament and I would have preferred to have seen them play each other in the final."

Meanwhile Douglas McWilliams, chief executive of the Centre for Economic and Business Research, estimated the match would trim 10% - or 400m - off the UK's GDP for the day.


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