HARRY Kane and Gareth Bale face off in the World Cup’s first all-British clash tonight with 16 million roaring them on at home.
Thousands have taken Tuesday and Wednesday off work for the historic game in Doha, which will see England top the group with a victory. Wales progress if they win by four goals but any margin will do if USA and Iran draw.
The Three Lions will be roared on by 16 million viewers at home, while 8,000 of their fans will make their voices heard in the stadium[/caption]
Talking of what is required of Wales to qualify for the knockout stages, Wales ace Gareth Bale, 33, said: ‘There have been a few shocks in the World Cup’[/caption]
England boss Gareth Southgate says skipper Harry Kane and his men are fired up to slay the Dragons in tonight’s Battle of Britain.
Southgate vowed his team would “give everything” in the crunch World Cup showdown with Wales.
The Three Lions will be roared on by 16 million viewers at home, while 8,000 of their fans will make their voices heard in the stadium.
But around 6,000 Dragons die-hards will raise the roof at the other end for the final group game.
England slumped from heroes after the 6-2 demolition of Iran in their first game to zeros in the goalless bore draw against USA.
Wales have a mountain to climb after drawing their first match against the USA 1-1 and then suffering a heartbreaking 2-0 defeat at the hands of Iran.
Spurs goal king Kane, 29, pledged to “ignore the noise” from critics over the form slump.
He said: “We go from a 6-2 win and everyone is talking about us winning the tournament then we have not a bad result with a 0-0 and people have their opinions.
“But that is part and parcel of major tournament football.”
Southgate said his players were ready to go “as far as we possibly can”. England need a quick return to form — but he warned Wales would be no pushover as the men of St George prepared for their first ever battle with the Dragons at a World Cup at Doha’s Al Rayyan Stadium.
England need only to avoid losing by four goals against the struggling Welsh to reach the last 16.
But they need a win to top the group and hopefully get an easier path in the knockout stages. Wales must win by four to go through, or by any margin if Iran and USA draw.
Southgate said: “There’s a lot for both teams resting on the game.
“We played well with the ball in the first game and scored a lot of goals and the second game was tougher for us and we defended really well. Now we want to put both elements together.
“We are expecting a team that will give everything for the shirt.”
£215MILLION ON DRINKING AND GRUB
A MASSIVE £215million is estimated to be spent on food and drink for the big match today.
A £75million spending boost is set to cheer pubs.
And the other £140m will be splashed on supermarket food and drinks for home parties, a GlobalData Retail study for VoucherCodes.co.uk said.
Luke Dearden, general manager of The Sydney Arms in Chelsea, West London, said: “Never mind dry January, it’s wet November thanks to the World Cup. We’ve had to get more beer stocks in.”
At the Red Lion bar in Doha, Qatar, England fan Chris Whight, 32, was among supporters of both sides sharing a drink.
The London financier clinked glasses with Chris Thomas, 53, from Maesteg, South Wales
The England fan joked: “I’ve got Welsh cousins and I can’t wait to be cheering when they lose.”
Train driver Mike Gronow, 49, of Cardiff, said: “We’re clinging to the dream.”
England’s Jack Grealish and Harry Kane share a joke during training ahead of their clash with Wales[/caption]
England boss Gareth Southgate said ‘We’ve got a chance to win the group with a positive result’[/caption]
Wales ace Gareth Bale, 33, said: “There have been a few shocks in the World Cup and there’s no reason why we can’t do the same.”
But Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson, 32, also rallied the troops after Welsh rival Kieffer Moore taunted: “We would love to beat the English.”
Steely Henderson replied: “Our motivation is to win games and do our talking on the pitch and focus on the game — and that is what we are going to do.”
Southgate sparked laughter when asked by a foreign journalist to explain the rivalry between the two UK nations yesterday.
Placing his hands side-by-side, he grinned: “They’re here and we are here — it’s like any two countries whose borders are next to each other. For me, it’s a great sporting rivalry — it’s no more than that — but that might not be mutual.”
The big match booze-up at home will see 25 million pints sunk as an early rush-hour from 3pm will see staff quit work early to get home or to the pub for the 7pm kick-off.
Hundreds of thousands have booked today and tomorrow off work — bracing for a hangover
Annual leave is up 14 per cent today and 12 per cent tomorrow, said BrightHR, which monitors absence among employees.
Others will skip off work early. Traffic congestion at 3pm on Friday, before the 7pm England v USA game, was 13 per cent worse than normal in London, TomTom traffic data showed.
The atmosphere began building in Qatari capital Doha yesterday as English and Welsh fans mingled happily as they necked £12 pints.
By Bez, Happy Mondays Legend
AS an Englishman, I long for football to finally come home.
But tonight’s game presents me with a problem… because I love Wales too.
My love affair began in the 2000s. I was approaching 40 and doubted I’d survive another ten years due to excessive partying.
I met some Welsh hippies at Glastonbury and went to live on a farm.
I found peace and believe Wales probably saved my life. In the World Cup, I’ve found myself cheering them on and their anthem makes the hairs on my neck stand on edge.
But, no matter how much I love the country, when it comes to football I’m an out-and-out Englishman.