Hundreds of fans see bigger picture

Hundreds of football fans gathered in Norwich city centre yesterday - but there was barely an England shirt in sight. There was, however, plenty of colour as fans from four nations, and a fair smattering of neutrals, packed Millennium Plain outside the Forum.

Hundreds of football fans gathered in Norwich city centre yesterday - but there was barely an England shirt in sight.

There was, however, plenty of colour as fans from four nations, and a fair smattering of neutrals, packed Millennium Plain outside the Forum.

The travelling BBC television screen made its arrival a day too early for Beckham and the boys' quarter-final game against Portugal and, by the time that match kicks off at 4pm today, it will have moved on again.

But that did not stop football-mad city residents turning out to watch Germany v Argentina yesterday afternoon followed by Italy v Ukraine in the evening.

Gesine Oppitz-Trotman, a UEA student from near Cologne, was flying the flag for Germany. She said: "My family and friends back home say there is an amazing atmosphere and it is times like this I wish I was back home.

"But to be able to come down here and watch the game on a big screen surrounded by so many people is some consolation."

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During the busiest periods about 200 people were watching the games, the numbers clearly bolstered by the warm temperature.

There was no trouble among a good-natured crowd, a situation possibly helped by the no-alcohol policy.

An estimated 50,000 people watched the match on June 10 on 10 of the BBC's public space broadcasting screens across Britain.

In previous years the screen on Millennium Plain has proved a popular place to catch England games but this year, in what some see as a cost-cutting measure, no home nation games will be broadcast by the BBC in the city.