Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Le Scrum as England Fans Sweep into Paris; Swingtime: A Giant England Shirt on the Seine and the Bulldog Spirit with a Dog in Kent Called. Jonny le Scrum as EnglandImperial Measure: Bianca Belby Sinks a Yard of Ale at the Frog and Rosbif Pub in Paris as the Party Starts Early for England Fans. Supporters Refused to Be Deterred by French Transport Strikes ... or the Lack of a Ticket to the Match

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Le Scrum as England Fans Sweep into Paris; Swingtime: A Giant England Shirt on the Seine and the Bulldog Spirit with a Dog in Kent Called. Jonny le Scrum as EnglandImperial Measure: Bianca Belby Sinks a Yard of Ale at the Frog and Rosbif Pub in Paris as the Party Starts Early for England Fans. Supporters Refused to Be Deterred by French Transport Strikes ... or the Lack of a Ticket to the Match

Article excerpt

Byline: JACK LEFLEY, ANNA DAVIS

TENS of thousands of England fans today began the invasion of Paris tocheer on their rugby heroes ahead of the World Cup final.

They defied national train strikes and a scarcity of match tickets, which werechanging hands for more than [pounds sterling]2,000.

At Gare du Nord today an army of supporters, some draped in England flags,filled the concourse with their cheers ringing out across the station.

They had risen before dawn to ensure they beat strike action by French publictransport workers, which crippled the local rail network.

The Eurostar services were delayed by up to an hour and a half because of theaction but it could not dampen spirits.

Steve Cockle, 33, and his pregnant wife Amy, 31, from Clapham, described thetrip as their "first family outing to an England game".

Mr Cockle, a mortgage broker, said: "We had tickets for the final months agobut we never really believed we were going to be watching England. Come onEngland, we won it in Australia and we can do it again." For some the partystarted last night. The strains of Swing Low Sweet Chariot echoed in Parisbars.

As his friend sank a yard of ale, student Ed Sharples, 23, from Norfolk, said:"I think this is going to be the best weekend of my life because we're going tocelebrate England retaining the World Cup." Back at Waterloo, the scramble toget on trains to Paris led to huge queues. But the crowds refused to bedeterred and expressed their determination to get to the finalat whatever cost.

Martin Shepherd, 35, a company director from Brighton, admitted: "I haven't gota ticket yet. I just want to get over there and I will try to buy one inFrance. I bought my Eurostar ticket for [pounds sterling]150 when usually it is [pounds sterling]40 and I haveno accommodation. I will sleep on someone's floor if I have to and I will get aticket somehow. …

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