England's roads to be 'quieter than Christmas Day' as nation races home for World Cup semi final

·News Editor, Yahoo News UK
Supporters in York during England’s last match, compared to the M25 motorway shortly after kickoff. (SWNS)
Supporters in York during England’s last match, compared to the M25 motorway shortly after kickoff. (SWNS)

England’s roads will be quieter than on Christmas Day tonight as the country rushes home early to watch the World Cup clash against Croatia.

Gareth Southgate’s men kick off at 7pm GMT as they hope to reach their first World Cup Final in 28 years.

And with the Three Lions hoping to make sporting history, millions are expected to leave work early on Wednesday so they don’t miss the action.

The RAC predicted that rush hour will hit earlier than usual, and that the roads will be ‘dead’ by kickoff.

 The rush hour in England is expected to be earlier than normal on Wednesday.
The rush hour in England is expected to be earlier than normal on Wednesday.
Red and white van man: An artist made this patriotic image on the back of a van in support of England. (SWNS)
Red and white van man: An artist made this patriotic image on the back of a van in support of England. (SWNS)
Ghost town: Bristol city centre during England’s last World Cup game against Sweden on Saturday. (SWNS)
Ghost town: Bristol city centre during England’s last World Cup game against Sweden on Saturday. (SWNS)

Train firms also said services would be extremely busy in the afternoon.

The AA said that by 7pm, the roads in England will be ‘much quieter than Christmas Day’.

Unions and politicians, meanwhile, called for bosses to be a little sympathetic if staff are hungover on Thursday morning.

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has urged employers to be understanding and let their staff enjoy the moment.

Big moment: England fans in Croydon celebrate a World Cup goal v Sweden. (Rex)
Big moment: England fans in Croydon celebrate a World Cup goal v Sweden. (Rex)
Huge draw: Millions have watched England’s progress on bog screens around the country like this one in Croydon. (Rex)
Huge draw: Millions have watched England’s progress on bog screens around the country like this one in Croydon. (Rex)

It has called on managers to arrange flexible working hours or allow staff to work at home and to be as generous as possible with annual leave requests.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady thinks a victory for England is worthy of a national holiday.

She said: ‘We have fewer bank holidays than most of Europe, Giving people a day off to celebrate the World Cup would be great for the country and isn’t going to crash the economy.

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‘Workers put in billions worth of unpaid overtime each. They should be allowed to enjoy special occasions. Come on England.’

Labour echoed the call for flexibility to give the nation time to celebrate.

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Shadow sports minister Rosena Allin-Khan said: ‘It has been fantastic to see England progress to the semi-final, with a very real chance of reaching the final on Sunday.

‘Let us pay tribute to all of those who are working tonight, those keeping our towns and cities running, our emergency services and those working in our pubs and at big screen events.’

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