'Cool it' plea to World Cup fans

Football fever will grip the nation today - but hooligans looking to spoil East Anglia's World Cup party have been warned they will face the toughest response police ever.

Football fever will grip the nation today - but hooligans looking to spoil East Anglia's World Cup party have been warned they will face the toughest response police ever.

Soaring temperatures, record alcohol sales and a 4pm kick-off could present a volatile mix.

But in the wake of violence in Norfolk the last time England played Portugal, officers in the county have pledged to ensure today's quarter-final is remembered for the right reasons.

Force helicopters, plain-clothed 'spotters', video camera vans, community support offices, special constables and extra uniformed patrols will all be deployed to ensure the day passes peacefully.

Meanwhile, the major supermarkets reported record-breaking sales of beer and wine - with five million cases of beer and 20 million bottles of wine being bought at Tesco stores across the country.

Bookmakers are also set to cash in on England's success or failure today, with online firm Sky Bet expecting punters to gamble £30m on Beckham and Co progressing to the semi-finals.

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Not everyone will be supporting England though, with £3m set to go on the team crashing out and £1.5m expected to be bet by Scots on their rivals losing.

But Norfolk police said they were not expecting a report of the trouble that flared in Thetford two years ago when England lost to Portugal in the European championship.

A mob of about 300 hooligans hurled missiles and abuse at a group of 40 Portuguese men women and children following England's defeat on penalties.

Supt Jo Parrett said: “We will not hesitate to use any powers available to us where we believe that the way in which a situation is developing could become a risk to other members of the public or any other parties involved.

“We're taking a very robust, no-nonsense approach to policing this World Cup.”

A police spokesman added: “We want everybody to be able to enjoy their day without any trouble. We are not anticipating any problems but we will be prepared.”

Before the tournament began police patrolled airports and ports to prevent known hooligans travelling to Germany.

Dozens of convicted hooligans in East Anglia were among those to hand in their passports and one priority for police now is to ensure they are not involved in violence and anti-social behaviour back home.