Black Country fans' tension gives way to celebration as England beat Wales 3-0

The atmosphere started out as tense but became celebratory at a Black Country pub as England beat Wales 3-0 to top the group and send the Red Dragons home.

The tension cleared and celebrations began after Marcus Rashford put England in front
The tension cleared and celebrations began after Marcus Rashford put England in front

The Royal Oak in Chapel Ash, Wolverhampton, was one setting for the big clash between England and Wales in Group B of the 2022 World Cup, with those attending hopeful of seeing England progress comfortably.

The poor first half was forgotten about following two goals in two minutes for England and a much better second half, lifting the tension and bringing a celebratory atmosphere among those enjoying the game.

The pub has shown every game during the tournament, and while it hadn't been as busy as during the European Championships last year, licensee Terry Cole said there had been a steady stream of people coming in to watch.

Terry Cole said he was nervous, but backed England to go through

Before kick-off Mr Cole said while he was nervous about the game, he thought England would have enough about them to qualify for the next round.

He said: "I'll admit I'm very nervous about this game as I think Wales will probably score first and make it a bit harder for England than it has to be, but I do think we should come out with a 3-1 win.

"It shouldn't have come down to this as we should have beaten USA on Friday night, but I'm not worried too much.

"If I'm honest, I'm not that concerned about playing the Dutch or Senegal in the next round. I'm more concerned about Argentina or Brazil in the semi-finals, as I think we're good enough to get there."

Stuart Mackintosh and Patrick Tarpey both said it was important for England to get the result

Those in attendance settled down to watch the game, with five screens spread around to provide a view all around the pub, which has been a favourite place for former Wolves managers like Mick McCarthy and Dave Jones.

There were frustrated gasps as early chances for England were dealt with by Wales, but some people started to relax and say that England would win easily, while others remained tense about the game.

There were also phones out and people checking the other game between Iran and the USA to see where England might finish and whether they would play the Netherlands or Senegal in the Round of 16.

West Brom fans in Qatar

Patrick Tarpey was among those feeling apprehensive about the game, saying that he felt England would need to be careful against Wales.

He said: "Wales will be upping their game tonight as they're playing against England, and it's a tough game as I'd have hoped England would have been through by now and we could relax.

"They also need to win, so this just makes it so much harder than it needs to be tonight, but I'm not worried about who we play if we get through.

"This is a good pub to come down to and watch the game, as my wife and I call this our local and it's always got a great atmosphere to watch football in."

Stuart Mackintosh said all he wanted to see was England get the result needed to get through and didn't mind how it was done.

He said: "Personally, I just hope they get the result and get through the group stages to the knockout stages and I don't care how they do it, whether it's a draw or a win.

"I think they performed really well against Iran and everyone got excited about it, but the USA game had more of a realism about it and tonight is a local derby, but as long as they win, that's fine.

"I honestly believe this team can get to the semi-finals and probably even get past that as they've got strength in depth and can play some quality football."

As the game wore on, those watching and supporting England began to relax a bit more, with several joking about the length of injury time needed after Nico Williams took a fierce shot from Marcus Rashford straight to the face.

The second half saw a change in mood as England scored three times, with the locals beginning to relax a bit more.

England's 3-0 win was greeted with glee and warm applause by those who had stayed and enjoyed a few drinks in the Royal Oak, with many already looking forward to seeing England vs Senegal on Sunday evening.

There were celebrations among fans from the Black Country in Qatar as well, with West Bromwich Albion fans among the England support, showing off their flag at the stadium.

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