Euro 2020 is already off to a cracking start for England fans.
It’s been a long time coming – but after a year of postponement due to the pandemic, with the sun shining and temperatures soaring, European football’s flagship tournament finally got underway over the weekend.
24 countries are battling it out for the sought-after trophy, including three UK home nations – England, Scotland, and Wales.
The tournament’s first match saw Italy secure a win over Turkey on Friday, but for many Mancunians and football fans up and down the country, all eyes were set on Sunday when England would face the team that knocked them out of the World Cup in 2018.
Gareth Southgate’s squad faced Croatia in their first match at Wembley Stadium, securing a solid 1-0 victory – which is the first time England has ever won their opening game at the European championships.
The goal by Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling looked to kick-start what we’re all hoping will be a special summer of sport.
But it perhaps won’t quite be the summer of sport we were all expecting.
Euro 2020 is due to take place right through until 11 July, but after a ruling which sadly looked imminent for weeks prior, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has this evening confirmed that the country’s so-called ‘Freedom Day’ – which was originally set as 21 June – is to be delayed by four weeks, with an anticipated lifting of all lockdown / social restrictions now set for 19 July, at the earliest.
The UK government has always maintained the stance that it would be guided by “data not dates” when it comes to introducing each step in its “irreversible” roadmap for lifting the current national lockdown, and that the date for each step was not set it stone.
Despite this admission though, today’s latest decision will have undoubtedly still dealt a blow to the rafts of England fans who were hoping to bring the unrivalled atmosphere of the 2018 World Cup and previous tournaments back to Manchester.
While bustling fan parks, roaring goal celebrations, pints being thrown in the air, hugging strangers, and joining in for renditions of Three Lions may not be on the cards this year after all, that doesn’t mean we still can’t make some unique memories.
Against all the odds, maybe Euro 2020 will be the tournament that England fans remember fondly for years to come?
We can always still hold out hope that football is coming home, right?
It truly is all to play for this week, as England face fellow home nation and old rivals Scotland this Friday in the second match of the Group Stage.
Fans will descend on Wembley once again, with a kick-off set for 8pm.
Looking for somewhere to watch?
Manchester is a city that’s obsessed with football and its engrained in our culture like nothing else, so it’s understandable that there’s plenty places in the city centre that are pulling out all the stops in the safest way possible for the Euros this year, and after being inundated with messages from our loyal audience who were keen to find out the best places to catch a match this summer, we’ve knuckled down and did the leg work for you.
So if you’re looking for some recommendations ahead of England vs Scotland this Friday, you can check out 20 of the best spots in Manchester city centre here.
Don’t fancy hitting up the city centre this weekend though? Prefer to celebrate at home instead?
Cheering on the national team in the company of fellow eager football fans definitely has its appeal, but it’s not for everyone and many would rather spend it with their nearest and dearest in the comfort of their own home or garden instead.
If that sounds a little more up your street, then you’re not alone, as we asked our Facebook community to send us pictures of their garden setups ready for last Sunday’s match – and they certainly didn’t disappoint.
If you’re thinking of kitting out your garden this weekend, then you can head on over and check out the roundup article for some inspiration here.