World Cup 2010: Big welcome for England fans as thousands arrive in South Africa
Saint George led the English invasion of South Africa yesterday as World Cup excitement reached fever pitch ahead of tomorrow’s big kick-off.
Devoted fan Paul Farrell was dressed as the dragon-slayer when he arrived in the first batch of our expected 25,000-strong army of followers. Others turned up cloaked in St George’s flags as they soaked up the sun, the atmosphere and the beer.
Paul, 48, joined thousands of supporters from around the world to watch the South African team’s bus parade in Johannesburg – turning the streets into a sea of colour.
The pub landlord, of Skegness, Lincs, said: “I wore the outfit on the plane and as I walked to the immigration booth, people were cheering and laughing.
“I just want to have a great time and cheer the England boys to victory in their first game. Everyone here is so friendly.”
Paul, student son Luke, 20, and friend Peter Blackmore, 47, were among 2,000 fans who arrived yesterday ahead of England’s opening clash with the USA in Rustenburg on Saturday.
Paul Students Matthew Castle and Dan Thomas, both 21, wore the cross of St George.
Matthew, from Wakefield, West Yorks, said: “Seeing all these people and this buzz is awesome. It’s our first World Cup, a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
Dan, from Guernsey, added: “I always believe England will win. You have to be optimistic.” Norwich baker Adrian Nunn, 46, said: “I’ve been looking forward to this for ages.” David Herman, from Chicago, arrived wearing a David Beckham shirt.
The 40-year-old, of the USA Manchester United supporters club, said: “All the world supports Brazil. But I’m supporting England.