Anoushka Probyn: Fashion Blogger and England Fan at Euro 2016

 Anoushka and fans outside the Stade Bollaert-Delelis.

Anoushka and fans outside the Stade Bollaert-Delelis.

After a week of lounging in the sun in peaceful Southern France, Lens was a shock to the system. My father and I were dropped off Thursday morning in the town centre, only to be greeted with pouring rain, an unpleasant chill, and an abundance of merry fans, despite the supposed alcohol ban. 

The atmosphere was decidedly more jovial than the previous game, with England and Wales fans seemingly getting along well. Ganging up against the Russians the previous night in Lille had probably speeded up the bonding process. The police presence was less menacing than Marseille and the overall ambience felt pretty friendly, although we still chose a sit down restaurant over the main drinking drag, to be on the safe side. I opted to wear colours this time around, though with a jacket in case I needed to be camouflaged if things turned sour.

  Inside the   Stade Bollaert-Delelis.

Inside the Stade Bollaert-Delelis.

The game itself started off pretty poorly, with England looking slow and failing to create chances. Things really 360-ed when Hodgson showed some initiative bringing on Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge at half time. Not a typically Roy Hodgson move, but it paid off. All of a sudden we looked threatening, and soon settled the score with Vardy’s equaliser. However time was ticking and I’d reconciled myself to a draw when the second goal went in. 

After three disappointing tournaments I’ve become pretty pessimistic regarding England’s ability, but the atmosphere when Sturridge scored really reminded me why I go. Sure, there’s a heck of a lot of disappointment, mediocrity, time and money spent to see us underperform. But every now and then there’s that moment that makes it all worth it. I wasn’t expecting us to progress past the last sixteen, and while I still don’t expect us to win it, I’m a little more hopeful that there might be a few more good memories in store before our time is up. And who knows? Maybe, after all, Roy could indeed take us to Paris.

Words and Images Anoushka Probyn