We're all set to cheer England on

Be it Peter Crouch's robotics, the national obsession with metatarsals or flags adorning cars on every street, World Cup fever has arrived - and that's before a single ball has been kicked in anger.

Be it Peter Crouch's robotics, the national obsession with metatarsals or flags adorning cars on every street, World Cup fever has arrived - and that's before a single ball has been kicked in anger.

As Sven's men stepped on to flight BA9200C last night, expectations - having reached a low ebb only weeks earlier following Wayne Rooney's injury - had returned to their traditional high.

Whether you are an avid fan or have just a passing interest in the national game, there will be no escaping the World Cup once it kicks off on Friday.

From church halls to football grounds, cinemas, pubs and even the seafront, it seems everyone will be turning on, tuning in and hoping England don't drop out.


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In previous years huge crowds have gathered to watch matches on the big screen at Norwich's Millennium Plain.

Although the screen will not be in operation this year, fans will be able to watch the four-week tournament progress in the familiar surroundings of Carrow Road as it hosts free parties on each England match day.

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Those looking for something more unusual could try following the team while munching on a tub of popcorn at the city's Odeon cinema or relaxing on Yarmouth seafront in front on newly installed giant screens.

At Southwold, St Edmunds Church will be showing all of England's matches and at King's Lynn the games will be shown at The Walks Stadium, home of the Linnets.

Of course there will be plenty catching the action in their nearest pub and one in Norwich is doing its bit to make the next few weeks a peaceful affair.

Chicago Rock Café on Prince of Wales Road has appointed a team of "language police" to keep watch on customers behaviour - anyone caught using bad language will be asked make a donation to Echo, a charity which supports a variety of children's groups.

Failing that, of course, you can always watch the match at home - an option it seems many people are choosing. According to online retailer Direct TVs, more than 120 screens were leased for the World Cup period in the Norwich area last week, 25pc more than the average UK city.

And electrical goods are not the only products to see an upturn in sales. Asda has sold 60,000 flags in a week and, with the range of memorabilia on offer including St George's toilet seats, no room in the house need be without a slice of patriotism.

Fans can even pledge their allegiance to their country when they post a letter, as Royal Mail is bringing out a commemorative series of stamps featuring the winning nations since 1966.

England is featured on the first class stamp, with Brazil on the most expensive, 72p, and tens of millions of World Cup stamps are expected to be sold over the next few weeks.

Striker Crouch's touchline antics also look set to be immortalised with manufacturer MB Games planning to release a special Subbuteo figure capturing his celebratory dance.

The UK's largest supermarket has a fleet of extra lorries on stand-by to ensure stores do not run out of beer and other goods during the contest.

Tesco described its pre-tournament planning as its biggest distribution operation and it expects to sell five million cases of beer during the tournament.

Sainsbury's is braced for a 10pc year-on-year rise in beer sales during the event, rising to 20pc before England games. And Asda invested £32m in cutting the price of beer at the beginning of last month.

England's official World Cup song, World At Your Feet, by Embrace, is outselling its rivals by more than two to one, according to first day sales figures.

Meanwhile, Norfolk's African tribal chief Lynne Symonds, who recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of a project assisting people in northern Ghana, is helping to spread World Cup fever. Her charity, the Wulugu Project, sent 25 international kits to the country which is competing for the trophy for the first time.

She said: "There is enormous enthusiasm and passion for football in Ghana. It is a common language which unites people, no matter what there background is.

In South Norfolk, residents could be watching the final on a flat screen TV - simply by recycling their waste. The council will be entering those who leave out "perfect" green recycling cards in a prize draw.

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