England reached the semi-finals of Euro 2020 after a comprehensive 4-0 victory over Ukraine, sparking celebration among fans.
Sky News correspondents Michelle Clifford, Milena Veselinovic and Sadiya Chowdhury, were at three different locations to see how the fans reacted.
Rome – Michelle Clifford
They had been singing “football’s coming home” for hours before kick off and it turned out the optimism of the England fans was right. The song once again echoed from inside the Rome stadium as the final whistle blew.
Supporters had travelled from around the globe – America, Dubai and across Europe to be at the match in Italy. And they emerged euphoric. Dancing, waving their flags, more than a few a little worse for wear.
Many told us the atmosphere inside the stadium was amazing despite the fact there were far fewer fans present than wanted to be there. COVID-19 had thwarted the travel plans of thousands from the UK.
One boy who had travelled from Switzerland with his British father said: “It was my first England game and it was so exciting.” His dad said that the England fans had tried to make as much noise as possible.
Amber, 15, who had travelled in from Cyprus with her family, told us before the match they would try to scream and shout so the players could hear them. Her face painted with two England flags, she was hopping up and down with delight.
Only one fan we spoke to before kick off had predicted a 4-0 victory. I bet he is wishing he had put a rather large wager on that at the bookies before the two sides met.
London – Milena Veselinovic
Beers flew in the air the moment Harry Kane scored the first goal against Ukraine, as an elated crowd of twenty-somethings watched the game at a fanzone a stone’s throw from Wembley Stadium.
They cheered England on with chants of “it’s coming home” and occasionally burst into their best rendition of Sweet Caroline.
Rohan Jhaveri, who was celebrating the England win with friends, said the experience of being out and about after a long lockdown was incredible.
“Just to be here is amazing, and the celebrations we’ve had with the goal, it’s one of the best experiences ever,” he said.
Mr Jhaveri had high praise for England’s performance, calling it their best ever in the Euros.
“I’ve actually been a critic of the team, especially Harry Kane, but finally he has shown his presence on the field,” he said.
By the time Jordan Henderson scored the fourth and final goal, attempts at social distancing were largely abandoned, with the fanzone turning into a huge singing and dancing party.
Manchester – Sadiya Chowdhury
“Get back inside your pens,” the announcer belted out but nobody seemed to care. Fans at Manchester’s socially-distanced outdoor fan park threw COVID-19 rules out of the proverbial window as they flooded to the front stage and danced on picnic tables.
A chorus of Sweet Caroline drowned out an earlier rendition of Football’s Coming Home. Jubilant fans threw their arms around each other, celebrating England’s emphatic 4-0 win over Ukraine which sent the Three Lions to their first Euros semi-final in 25 years.
Former England international Wes Brown was watching the game from a socially-distanced table next to Sky News’ one.
“I think Gareth [Southgate] turned it into a positive, the way the team gets changed around, there’s no moaning, they all look willing to run,” he reflected.
“[Jordan] Pickford made some good saves as well. He has been brilliant in this tournament. At the moment, pressure doesn’t seem to be getting to anyone.”
England’s win sets up a semi-final against Denmark on Wednesday at Wembley.
Brown, who has 23 caps, told me the players must soak in this winning feeling.
“You’ve just got to enjoy it.
“Everyone knows it’s not over. They performed well today, there’s a big game now on Wednesday against Denmark which is a team you would think we could beat but you can’t get complacent and you’ve still got to focus on what we’ve got to do.”
Security moved in to clear the park and suddenly the flood lights all switched off. “Football’s coming home,” a security guard said to a group of slow-moving fans, “so go on, go home”.