THE ecstasy and the agony were lived in equal measure across Spain where England fans saw their team fall at the final hurdle in an agonising penalty shoot out against Italy.
Our correspondents shared their experiences of watching the final with expats and holidaymakers across Spain:
Families gathered at the Thirsty Monk pub in Castelldefels, near Barcelona, for the final of the Euro2020 championship writes Graham Keeley.
“It was a rollercoaster of emotions. The atmosphere after the first goal was electric,” said landlord Liam Hill, who is from England but who has been living in Spain for four years, told the Olive Press.
Hill sent a photo of how an Italian player fouled Bukayo Saka.
“This is a good photo of how Italy played. Twice they should have had a red,” he added.
However, he said that England had enjoyed a good campaign in the Euro2020 championship.
“We had a good run in the euros. It was a good night with good people,” he said.
The backroom of a bar in Madrid’s Malasana will be forever England, or so it would’ve been had the night turned out differently, reports Fiona Govan.
A few dozen Brits resident in the capital had gathered there for what they hoped would be the evening they had been waiting for all their lives.
“I am pretty anxious to be honest,” said Tom Graham, a signwriter in the district, at the start of the match in La Taperia. “But I feel it really is our time.”
He was wrong. And just a few hours later, disappointment was writ large on his face. “I’m not going to cry,” he said as his face crinkled and we heard the jubilant cheers from Italians in a neighbouring bar.
“I’m probably the only one in this bar who actually remembers 1966,” admitted Celia Clayden who was a teenager in London when England last won a championship. “It’s a real shame this lot won’t know how that feels,” she said.
Costa del Sol
Katherine Brook reports on the atmosphere at an Irish bar in Estepona
It may not sound like an obvious choice to watch England in the Euro2020 final, but Irish pub Healy Mac’s in Estepona port was rammed with patriotic expats and tourists.
One group in particular led the crowd, keeping up the energy with chants from their prime spot in the centre of the bar.
Chris, a 41-year-old builder from Watford, said the group had been out to watch every game together and was ever optimistic that England were going to win.
“This is our year. It’s got to come home now,” he insisted with a vodka Redbull in hand. “We’re going to the feria after, win or lose – we’ll either be celebrating or drowning our sorrows.”
When the first goal was scored everyone went wild with bottles and drinks flying around, but it was all in good spirits.
Most of the friends had been there since lunchtime, with Jason, 35, from Wolverhampton, explaining that the group went ‘this hard’ for every single game.
“It’s not every day we make it to a Euro final!” he explained.
New recruit to the group, Ollie, 29, from London said the atmosphere was ‘amazing’.. “What a place to watch the game,” he insisted. “This place is buzzing, it’s brilliant. The only way to watch a game like this.”
Along the coast in Duquesa, Alex Oscar found the busy port area festooned with England flags.
Following the heart wrenching ‘disappointment’ that was the penalty shootout, expats in Duquesa port, drowned their sorrows while analysing the game.
“England only had themselves to blame for not winning in 120 minutes,” explained Liam.“But I’m proud of our manager and I’m proud of our players for getting to the final” he added.
Given that penalties are England’s kryptonite, expecting youngsters like Jadon Sancho, 21, and Bukayo Saka, 19, to take them was seen as very unfair, reckoned Greg.
“Even though the players are professionals, to expect them to come on and contribute in the penalties is a lot of pressure”.
Will believed England will ‘never have a better chance than this”, whereas the more optimistic fans are putting their hopes on the 2022 World Cup.
Isha Sesay spoke to some proud England fans enjoying their holidays in Ibiza.
Andrew made a last minute decision to travel to Ibiza with his son Jack and their friends after finding a cheap flight to the White Isle on the weekend. Watching the big game at Flahertys pub in San Antonio, the retired father of three said that he couldn’t be more proud to be supporting England in the final. “I will always remember this day and even more so to share it with my boy in Ibiza,” said Andrew.
Simon has been coming to ibiza for the last 16 years and after missing out last summer due to the COVID-19 crisis, he didn’t hesitate to book his ticket after the UK gave the Balearics a green light for travel. “I am not a huge football fan but I have never been so excited for a tournament. The atmosphere is electric here and despite losing, we did a smashing job,” said Simon.
Jon Clarke shares his rollercoaster ride of supporting England.
Living up in the very Spanish mountain town of Ronda means there are no English bars… and every football-loving expat we know had, predictably, gone down to the coast. Including our teenage daughter!
So having firstly toyed with the idea of watching it at a friendly Italian pizzeria and then booked the terrace of a local restaurant, we decided we would be far happier at home with Auntie Beeb and good old Gary Lineker.
For starters we could scream (and then cry) without any Italians or Spanish around to laugh and, secondly, to watch the build-up in English. Oh, and the Wimbledon final before it.
It turned out to be a great evening, despite my father-in-law randomly deciding to support Italy 15 minutes before the game, despite being a dyed in the wool monarchist and playing cricket for the British army and Surrey. He did live in Italy for two decades, I suppose, and he could see it coming. And he was right.
My father-in-law had predicted a 2-1 win. I knew we would lose if it got to penalties. We almost always do.
Local friends Lisa and Andy, not huge football fans but up for it nonetheless, watched the agony and ecstasy of supporting England this Sunday. The term; that Monday morning feeling, was never more apt.
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