FOOTBALL fans in Scarborough are preparing to sing for England as their team takes on Italy in the Euro 2012 quarter finals.
After topping their group, with wins against Ukraine and Sweden and a draw against France, England secured a place in the next round.
The team had much to prove after failing to qualify for the last European championships in 2008, and coming runners-up in the 2010 World Cup group stages to the USA before being knocked out in the last 16 with a 4-1 defeat against Germany.
However Roy Hodgson’s men have already exceeded fans’ expectations in Scarborough, according to local businessman Nigel Wood.
Mr Wood, who has travelled the world playing the cornet in the England Supporters Band, said: “They have gone out to tournaments in the past where expectations have been high and they haven’t done very well. This time the public had quite low expecations and they’ve gone out and done really well.
“They are through to the nitty gritties now though. I think they can beat Italy, but then it will get very tough. It is great to see their success so far.”
Sunday evening’s match will also be watched eagerly by Scarborough’s Italian community.
Gianni Bisi, who has Gianni’s restaurant in Victoria Road, will be cheering on Italy while his Scarborough-born son, 21, cheers for England. Mr Bisi said: “I am very pleased with the quarter finals. Nobody wanted to play Spain as they don’t play fair. I am very pleased we got England, they are an honourable opponent. I cannot say what the outcome of the game will be as football is very unpredictable. However so far I think Italy have played very well. I think they have improved since the disasterous World Cup. I am looking forward to the match.”
England’s quarter final match against Italy kicks off at 7.45pm.