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Hundreds of France fans to descend on London pubs for England World Cup clash

France take on England in the World Cup on Saturday (Mike Egerton/PA)
France take on England in the World Cup on Saturday (Mike Egerton/PA)

Hundreds of French football fans living in the UK are to descend on London to watch the World Cup quarter-final clash with England.

Pubs across the capital will be filled with expats from France during Saturday’s match between Les Bleus and the Three Lions.

Around 700 will attend a screening at Zoo Bar & Club in Leicester Square, hosted by the founders of the Frogs in London app, with supporters expecting a “very intense” atmosphere.

Fans watch England v Senegal – FIFA World Cup 2022
England fans will be hoping for a win on Saturday (Peter Powell/PA)

Organiser Tim Helmstetter told the PA news agency: “On Saturday we’re going to open our doors an hour and a half before the game, we’re going to sell all of our 700 tickets for sure.

“It’s going to be mostly French people, we’ve got screens, projectors, French music and drinks.

“Everybody’s confident because we’ve got a really good team this year, but we are still scared because in this World Cup you never know.

“I think we’ve got a better team than England, but they are playing really well too – I spoke with some English people and I think they are more scared about the game.”

The group, which hosted a screening for the 2018 World Cup final, which France won, said 4,000 French people celebrated in Piccadilly Circus for hours after the match.

However, Mr Helmstetter said he does not want fans to congregate there if France win on Saturday, to avoid upsetting England supporters.

He went on: “We feel like we’re English citizens now, we’re excited but we didn’t want this game.

“Hopefully we will win but even if England win we’ll still be happy.”

Yann Coiet, a 27-year-old baker who lives near Liverpool Street, who is attending the screening with friends, said: ”Watching in London will be very intense, I’ve lived here for three years now and we’re very excited for this game.

“I’ve started with my English co-workers already, joking this week, telling them that Senegal will beat them up, now I’m joking that Mbappe versus Maguire will be funny to see.

“Honestly it will be our most difficult game of this World Cup, England have a great team with great young players.

“Actually I’m a bit scared of Bellingham and Foden, but the good thing I think is that England doesn’t have the same experience in big games.

“The fact Kane is still trophyless is a joke, he deserves it but it would be great for us if he misses some on Saturday.

“But with Mbappe and Griezmann at this level I can only be confident and think France will win.”

England v Senegal – FIFA World Cup 2022 – Round of 16 – Al Bayt Stadium
French supporters say they fear Jude Bellingham (Mike Egerton/PA)

Bachi Bachou, 32, who lives near Finsbury Park, who is also attending the event, said: “There is a lot of people from France in London, we call it the sixth largest city in France so it will be just amazing to watch a game with two big teams.

“French fans are really confident, we have the best players so we will win the game for sure.”

Other French-themed pubs and restaurants, including Le Merlin, in Clapton, east London, are expecting dozens of supporters to watch the game.