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Pubs across England, Wales and Scotland get ready for start of Euro 2020

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Football fans rushed to Britain’s pubs for Friday night beers tonight, while Andrea Bocelli pumped out Nessun Dorma to kick off Euro 2020 in Rome.

Revellers took advantage of the warm weather and clear skies as they took to the streets to gather in crowds, with many tuning in to the first game of the much-anticipated football tournament between Italy and Turkey. 

England, Wales and Scotland are all taking part in the competition – delayed by a year because of the Covid pandemic – but don’t kick off each of their first games until later this weekend.

The opening contest is always an occasion met with fanfare, however, and crowds flocked to watering holes and fan zones up and down the country this evening.

Fans relaxed on the grass at London’s Potters Fields Park to enjoy the evening’s balmy conditions before the 8pm kick-off.

Millions across the UK turned in to watch a colourful opening ceremony, featuring a powerful rendition of Nessun Dorma by Andrea Bocelli, kicking off proceedings. 

The clash was even piquing the interest of officials at the G7 summit in Cornwall, with Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi dining with fellow leaders while his nation kick off the campaign. 

Boris Johnson’s official spokesman acknowledged that some of the leaders and aides may be able to watch a bit of the tournament over the weekend.

‘There are obviously a number of TVs that will be showing the football at Carbis and it will be up to leaders how they avail themselves of this,’ he said.

On whether a scheduling clash can be avoided on Sunday, when England play their first game against Croatia, the spokesman said: ‘We are looking to do whatever we can.

‘But I want to manage everyone’s expectations: if we can, we will but obviously there is a G7 summit going on and we need to ensure leaders have all the time necessary to discuss what I think we can all agree are pretty important issues.’

Fans at Potters Fields Park watch the colourful opening ceremony before the first game of Euro 2020 between Italy and Turkey

Crowds of supporters crammed into a fan park on Friday evening, with the sun setting over landmarks like Tower Bridge

Crowds of supporters crammed into a fan park on Friday evening, with the sun setting over landmarks like Tower Bridge

Turkey fans take a selfie at Potters Fields Park as they wait to watch the UEFA Euro 2020 Group A opening match between Turkey and Italy

Turkey fans take a selfie at Potters Fields Park as they wait to watch the UEFA Euro 2020 Group A opening match between Turkey and Italy

Fans waving Scotland flags arrive at Glasgow Green to watch the UEFA Euro 2020 Group A opening match between Turkey and Italy

Fans waving Scotland flags arrive at Glasgow Green to watch the UEFA Euro 2020 Group A opening match between Turkey and Italy

Even though Scotland don't kick off their campaign until Monday, many fans wanted to take advantage of the balmy conditions to watch the first game of the tournament on Friday night

Even though Scotland don’t kick off their campaign until Monday, many fans wanted to take advantage of the balmy conditions to watch the first game of the tournament on Friday night

A supporter in a Scottish face mask arrives at Glasgow Green for the screening of the first match of the tournament

A supporter in a Scottish face mask arrives at Glasgow Green for the screening of the first match of the tournament

An Italy fan raises a glass and flies his nation's flag ahead of kick off in the opening match of Euro 2020 against Turkey

An Italy fan raises a glass and flies his nation’s flag ahead of kick off in the opening match of Euro 2020 against Turkey

Servers carry drinks to fans at Glasgow Green as they wait to watch the UEFA Euro 2020 Group A opening match between Turkey and Italy

Servers carry drinks to fans at Glasgow Green as they wait to watch the UEFA Euro 2020 Group A opening match between Turkey and Italy

A group of young revellers enjoy a night out in Newcastle on Friday evening on the night Euro 2020 begins

A group of young revellers enjoy a night out in Newcastle on Friday evening on the night Euro 2020 begins

A general view of Potters Fields Park Fan Zone, where crowds are gathering to watch the Euro 2020 match between Italy and Turkey

A general view of Potters Fields Park Fan Zone, where crowds are gathering to watch the Euro 2020 match between Italy and Turkey

Italy fans show their support as they arrive at Glasgow Green to watch the UEFA Euro 2020 Group A opening match between Turkey and Italy

Italy fans show their support as they arrive at Glasgow Green to watch the UEFA Euro 2020 Group A opening match between Turkey and Italy

Fans at Glasgow Green as they want to watch the UEFA Euro 2020 Group A opening match between Turkey and Italy

Fans at Glasgow Green as they want to watch the UEFA Euro 2020 Group A opening match between Turkey and Italy

Fans arrive at the Glasgow Green Fan Zone to watch the UEFA Euro 2020 Group A opening match between Turkey and Italy

Fans arrive at the Glasgow Green Fan Zone to watch the UEFA Euro 2020 Group A opening match between Turkey and Italy

Italy fans show their support at Glasgow Green prior to watching the UEFA Euro 2020 Group A opening match between Turkey and Italy

Italy fans show their support at Glasgow Green prior to watching the UEFA Euro 2020 Group A opening match between Turkey and Italy

Fans queue to get into the Glasgow Green Fan Zone to watch the UEFA Euro 2020 Group A opening match between Turkey and Italy

Fans queue to get into the Glasgow Green Fan Zone to watch the UEFA Euro 2020 Group A opening match between Turkey and Italy

A general view of Glasgow Green Fan Zone, which is screening the opening game of Euro 2020 between Italy and Turkey

A general view of Glasgow Green Fan Zone, which is screening the opening game of Euro 2020 between Italy and Turkey

Fans arrive at Glasgow Green to watch the UEFA Euro 2020 Group A opening match between Turkey and Italy

Fans arrive at Glasgow Green to watch the UEFA Euro 2020 Group A opening match between Turkey and Italy

Millions across the UK to watch a colourful opening ceremony kicking off proceedings just before 8pm on Friday night

Millions across the UK to watch a colourful opening ceremony kicking off proceedings just before 8pm on Friday night

Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli performs during the opening ceremony prior to the UEFA EURO 2020 game between Italy and Turkey

Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli performs during the opening ceremony prior to the UEFA EURO 2020 game between Italy and Turkey

Entertainers perform during the opening ceremony before the UEFA EURO 2020 Group A football match between Turkey and Italy at the Olympic Stadium in Rome

Entertainers perform during the opening ceremony before the UEFA EURO 2020 Group A football match between Turkey and Italy at the Olympic Stadium in Rome

For the home nations, Wales will be up first, facing Switzerland at 2pm tomorrow, before England face Croatia at Wembley on Sunday, in a repeat of the 2018 World Cup semi-final where English hearts were broken in extra time. 

The 2pm game is expected to boost pint sales in pubs by at least £3 million – though industry bosses have warned that current Covid restrictions will cost them millions in lost earnings. 

Scotland will begin their tournament by facing the Czech Republic on Monday, before playing the Auld enemy at Wembley next Friday. 

The highly-anticipated match is the first time England have played Scotland at a major tournament since 1996 and the contest is expected to fill pubs across the land.   

Excitement is building in pubs, with Dougie’s Tavern, in Hebburn, South Tyneside, putting up dozens of England flags, as well as the flag of every nation taking part in the tournament. 

Meanwhile, the Big Tree pub in Sheffield has put up over 500 flags, taking 36 hours, in preparation the Euros.

Work has also begun on a new fan zone in Trafalgar Square in London which will host a giant screen for supporters to watch England matches on in the capital. 

With England, Wales and Scotland all qualified Greene King are giving away free pints at more than 1,000 of their pubs across England and Wales today. 

Keen punters can redeem the pint of Greene King’s own pale ale brew, Ice Breaker, on Friday – the day of the first match of the Euros. 

Dougie's Tavern, in Hebburn, South Tyneside, which is draped out in flags representing countries taking part in Euro 2021

Dougie’s Tavern, in Hebburn, South Tyneside, which is draped out in flags representing countries taking part in Euro 2021

The tournament, which was delayed for a year because of the Covid pandemic, will finally kick off today and boozers across the UK are already draped in flags

The tournament, which was delayed for a year because of the Covid pandemic, will finally kick off today and boozers across the UK are already draped in flags

The Big Tree pub in Sheffield has put up over 500 flags, taking 36 hours, in preparation the Euros as excitement build across the country

The Big Tree pub in Sheffield has put up over 500 flags, taking 36 hours, in preparation the Euros as excitement build across the country

Work begins at Trafalgar Square in central London on the building of a new Fan Zone, ahead of the 2020 UEFA European Football Championship which kicks off later today

Work begins at Trafalgar Square in central London on the building of a new Fan Zone, ahead of the 2020 UEFA European Football Championship which kicks off later today

No vouchers or downloads are needed, simply utter the words ‘Your home of pub sport’ to the bar staff any time of Friday and you’ll be provided with a refreshing pint in readiness to watch the match at your favourite local. 

The pints are limited to one per person – and those who don’t drink can get a Coke or Coke Zero instead. 

The first game of the Euros will be played in Rome on Friday at 8pm British time between Turkey and Italy.

The spectre of the pandemic is still hanging over Euro 2020, however, as the first tournament matches will take place before Freedom Day on June 21, meaning a slew of Covid restrictions will still be in force. 

Currently, punters must be served by table service only, face coverings are required when walking inside and the Rule of Six will apply indoors.   

The British Beer & Pub Association earlier revealed that 85% of pub-going football fans believe the current restrictions will negatively impact their experience of watching Euro 2020 at the pub this summer.

Dougie's Tavern, in Hebburn, South Tyneside, which is draped out in flags representing countries taking part. Picture shows pub regular Bobby Park, 68, who has helped erect the banners, making last minute amendments

Dougie’s Tavern, in Hebburn, South Tyneside, which is draped out in flags representing countries taking part. Picture shows pub regular Bobby Park, 68, who has helped erect the banners, making last minute amendments

Adam Chamberlain, 45, general manager of Big Tree pub, Sheffield, which has put up over 500 flags, taking 36 hours, in preparation the Euros

Adam Chamberlain, 45, general manager of Big Tree pub, Sheffield, which has put up over 500 flags, taking 36 hours, in preparation the Euros

The first game of the Euros will be played in Rome on Friday at 8pm British time between Turkey and Italy. England's first game is on Sunday

The first game of the Euros will be played in Rome on Friday at 8pm British time between Turkey and Italy. England’s first game is on Sunday

Fans will be able to watch England games on a giant screen in the centre of the capital, repeating scenes from the 2018 World Cup

Fans will be able to watch England games on a giant screen in the centre of the capital, repeating scenes from the 2018 World Cup

Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: ‘When it comes to watching England, Scotland or Wales at the Euros, only being at the game itself can compare with being at the pubs.

‘Unfortunately, under the current restrictions they face, watching the Euros at the pub just won’t be the same as normal. Table service only, groups of up to six indoors and no standing drinking are going to crush the atmosphere.

‘85% of pub-going football fans believe the current restrictions will ruin the Euros experience at the pub. Half say they will be more likely to watch UEFA Euro 2020 at their local if all restrictions on pubs are lifted.

‘It is a great shame as we know 91% of pub going football fans missed watching the game at the pub during lockdowns. Clearly people miss these freedoms they used to take for granted.

‘More and more people are getting the vaccine each day. It’s time for the restrictions on our freedoms to be replaced by the protection of the vaccination and for businesses and life to get back to normal. The Countdown to Freedom is on.’  

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