England fans in NI still living the dream - hoping now for an Italian Job in European Championship

England fans in Northern Ireland are this morning waking up with huge grins on their faces as their team last night reached its first major final since 1966.

They secured an extra-time 2-1 win against Denmark to set-up Sunday’s shot at European Championship glory against Italy.

BBC Ireland correspondent Emma Vardy is looking forward to bantering colleagues who were cheering against England

“I can’t believe this is actually happening and I’m not back home to experience it with everyone!,” she told the News Letter. “Although it’s been quite fun watching the tournament in Northern Ireland and causing some mischief with various colleagues who were cheering on the opposition, but don’t worry, we’re all still friends! Now I’ll delight in them having to hear about it for a few more days yet!”

Fans at BOXPARK in Croydon celebrate England reaching the final after watching the Euro 2020 semi final match between England and Denmark. Picture date: Wednesday July 7, 2021. PA Photo. See PA story SPORT England. Photo credit should read: Tess Derry/PA Wire.

Ex BBC NI Political Editor Mark Devenport — an Englishman in NI — said he is “delighted” his team surpassed its last run in a major tournament. “I don’t underestimate the Italians for a minute, but so far we have been calm and professional and we have talent to burn so we don’t need to fear anyone,” he added.

Another Englishman, Co Tyrone cleric Rev Andrew Rawding, gave a suitably theological take on the victory.

“When I was growing up they used to say: ‘Jesus saves, but Kevin Keegan gets the rebound.’ he told the News Letter. “Well tonight Jesus still saves…but Harry Kane got the rebound!”

NI woman, and former Labour sports cabinet minister, Baroness Kate Hoey was also chuffed for England.

England's Harry Kane is mobbed by team-mates after scoring their side's second goal of the game in extra-time during the UEFA Euro 2020 semi final match at Wembley Stadium, London. Picture date: Wednesday July 7, 2021. PA Photo. See PA story SOCCER England. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only, no commercial use without prior consent from rights holder.

“The England supporters deserve this win,” she said. “They have waited a long time to see their team reach a major final. I now wish them the very best against Italy.”

Gary McAllister, Chairman of the Amalgamation of Official NI Supporters’ Clubs, said that whether people are cheering for or against England, there will be “massive” interest in the final.

“It’s been fantastic to see fans creating an atmosphere and hopefully it’s something we’ll be able to do at matches as Northern Ireland fans in the autumn,” he added.

NI actor Charlie Lawson, long domiciled in England, also gave a characteristic and generous response to the victory. “Keep er Lit England!” he cheered.


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