England’s Raheem Sterling tells fans: Now cheer us on to victory!

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Sterling, who has been one of the stars of the tournament, issued a rallying cry. (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Sterling, who has been one of the stars of the tournament, issued a rallying cry. (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

England hero Raheem Sterling called on fans to cheer the Three Lions on to victory as excitement grew ahead of Sunday’s Euro 2020 final.

The country will come to a standstill as up to 30 million people watch the team’s bid for a first major trophy for 55 years.

Gareth Southgate’s men take on Italy at Wembley for the chance to write themselves into the history books.

Sterling, who grew up in the shadow of Wembley stadium and has been one of the stars of the tournament, issued a rallying cry.

“The support and energy from all the fans have been incredible both at Wembley and with everyone watching at home. Bring on Sunday under the arches,” he tweeted.

There is also a growing clamour for employers to allow staff to come in late on Monday if captain Harry Kane raises the trophy and sets off a frenzy of celebration.

The match will be over by 10pm if it is settled in normal time.

However, the prospect of extra time and penalties means the game could finish closer to 11pm. Downing Street said employers who are able to should be flexible about allowing staff to go in to work late on Monday or take the day off if England win.

More than 300,000 people have signed a petition asking Boris Johnson to grant the country an extra bank holiday should England make history. The Prime Minister, who watched the semi-final against Denmark with wife Carrie, is understood to be “considering the options” but said granting a bank holiday now would be “tempting fate”.

Any victory parade for the team would probably have to wait until September due to the rising number of Covid cases.

The Prime Minister has also ruled out increasing the number of fans allowed at 90,000-seat Wembley above 60,000.

Takeaway food businesses and pubs are on standby for huge spikes in orders, while the National Grid is putting plans in place for a surge in electricity demand at half-time and after the game.Delivery service Just Eat said it expected almost one million orders on Sunday evening with burgers the most popular choice, followed by pizzas.

Orders are expected to peak at 7pm, an hour before the 8pm kick-off.

Simon Emeny, chief executive of London-based pub chain Fuller’s, told the Standard he expects to see every table booked across its nearly 400 managed and tenanted sites on Sunday night.

“I think our pubs are going to be full to capacity,” Emeny said. “Unfortunately we are still trading with a lot of restrictions. I have no doubt that we will sell out, but clearly if the restrictions had been lifted when the Prime Minister had originally said they would be we would have even more customers in.”

Dozens of nightclubs, still unable to operate normally because of Covid, have turned themselves into pubs for the night to accommodate fans who want to watch.

Ed Glover, chief executive of London-based ticketing software business FIXR, said: “Such is the demand, we have seen these events quickly list on our platform (even before the final whistle on Wednesday night) and sell out almost immediately. To meet this extraordinary response we have created a dedicated Euros 2020 and Pub In A Club category on our website.”

It is expected to be a quiet night for restaurants and public transport networks.

Figures from Transport for London show that the number of people tapping in and out of the Underground network on Wednesday when England played Denmark fell from 363,646 between 6pm and 7pm to just 71,748 between 9pm and 10pm.

Many London employers said they would heed the request from Downing Street to show flexibility towards staff on Monday.

Caroline Goodwin, operations director of digital agency Tangent, said its 90 staff, including several Italians, would be offered the chance of a “Three Lions lie-in”. They will not be expected to clock on until 11am rather than the usual 9am. She said: “They will either be drowning their sorrows or out celebrating, either way they are going to need a lie-in on Monday.”

John Foster, of the CBI, said: “The success of the England football team has lifted spirits, made Neil Diamond the soundtrack to the summer, and provided a boost for firms selling beer, barbecues and bunting.

“Conversations will no doubt be taking place throughout England as employers and employees look to strike a sensible balance for Sunday’s final. Where possible, businesses will be looking to show flexibility and a bit of common sense to allow their teams to enjoy the occasion.”

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