DAPPER England fans turned on the Gareth Southgate style yesterday as 10,000 Lionhearts descended on Moscow for tonight’s semi with Croatia.
Supporters wearing the manager’s signature outfit thronged the city after supplies were parachuted in for our #WaistcoatWednesday appeal.
They did the conga on the street leading into iconic Red Square — with their numbers boosted by a late surge of England fans.
As few as 2,000 have cheered on the team in Russia at previous games after many others were deterred by high costs and fears of Russian “Ultras” yobs.
And they can party in style — as England’s official tailors M&S flew in waistcoats from London after we urged supporters to wear one to the final.
The store revealed yesterday that waistcoat sales had doubled since the World Cup began, thanks to the Southgate effect.
His waistcoated lookalike Neil Rowe, 43, who fooled Gary Lineker when the TV camera zoomed in on him during the quarter-final against Sweden, posed for selfies with police yesterday.
Steve Holmes from Sheffield, drummer with The England Supporters’ Band, looked the business as he slipped on a £35 garment.
He said: “This is just the job. The fit is a little snug but I’ll look a proper gent as we sail into the World Cup Final.
Martyn Olds, 63, who runs a cardboard box firm in Bristol, added: “I love this new Southgate look and I’ll be dressed to the nines at the game.
“Gareth not only looks smart, he thinks smart and that’s why we’re going to win the World Cup.”
Retired HR consultant Stuart Mackenzie, 67, from London, said: “I’ve never felt smarter — it’s how a true English gentleman should look at a football match. This World Cup has been incredible, and now we look the part as well.”
50,000 BEERS IN THE AIR
FANS will throw an estimated 50,000 pints in the air for each goal England get tonight.
The British Beer and Pub Association made the claim after watching the BBC’s footage of fans celebrating Saturday’s two quarter-final goals against Sweden.
Up to 20 million pints are expected to be sold during tonight’s clash.
Croatia — led by Real Madrid genius Luka Modric, once of Spurs — will be our toughest opponents yet as we battle for a place in Sunday’s final. But they could be exhausted after going to extra-time and penalties in both their knockout games.
Thousands of Russians inside the 81,000-seat Luzhniki Stadium are expected to side with England after an insulting gaffe by a Croatian star went viral. Defender Domagoj Vida was videoed screaming “glory to Ukraine” with scout Ognjen Vukojevic after his side’s quarter-final penalty shootout success over the host nation.
Russian-backed forces are currently at war with Ukraine in the east of the country. Vukojevic was sacked, while Vida has since apologised.
Supporters face a bill of about £3,000 to watch England try to clinch a place in the final. Tickets for tonight’s match were still available for around £650 on the web on Monday, but the figure was rising by the hour.
Sun sneaks early win
THE Sun struck a blow for England — by sneaking into a Croatian amphitheatre draped in the flag of St George.
Our man Jonathan Reilly stood triumphant in the 2,000-year-old arena in Pula — scene of many gladiatorial slayings. Local electrician Igor Brenko, 52, said: “If your team is half as brave as you we should be worried.”