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England Fans Damp In Kiev Ahead Of Euro 2012 Game Against Sweden

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Singing in Ukraine | PA

England's travelling army of football fans prepared for tonight's battle with Sweden by taking on their counterparts in a singing contest.

Rowdy fans lined up opposite each other in Kiev, Ukraine, to belt out songs and and drink in the pouring rain.

Hundreds of noisy supporters - wearing their countries' colours of red and white, and yellow and blue, were getting in the mood for this evening's key Euro 2012 clash as they enjoyed the fun in the fan zone.

Security personnel struggled to keep both sets of fans apart as the chanting became more vociferous.

But the atmosphere was generally good natured, with the fans choosing to hug each other rather than throw punches after spending all day drinking ahead of the match at the Olympic Stadium.

At one point thunder and lightning sent thousands of supporters - who were watching Spain play Ireland on big screens - scurrying for shelter.

But a number of the England fans ignored the horrendous downpour, removed their shirts and sang "let's all have a disco".

Thousands more Three Lions supporters are expected to pour into Kiev today, although they will still be heavily outnumbered by the Swedes. An estimated 20,000 fans from Scandinavia have travelled to Ukraine, compared to just 5,000 from England.

Roy Hodgson's side is looking to create its own piece of history tonight as England have never beaten Sweden in a competitive game.

The England fans were confident their side could record a crucial win against a team which was defeated by Ukraine in its opening game.

Duncan Pickering, 25, from Leicester, said: "It was vital we didn't lose our first game.

"I think Sweden will be embarrassed because they will have thought Ukraine was their easy game. I think we'll win."

Alan Riggall, 29, from Doncaster, did not believe the huge number of Swedes in the stands would harm England's chances.

"I think it will benefit us," he said.

"Looking back at the qualifiers all of our best results were away from home, such as in Switzerland and Belgium.

"I think we need to win, but it will be a tight game. We beat them recently in a friendly so we're capable of doing it."

Accountant Dave Banks, 34, who unfurled a Port Vale FC flag in the fan zone, said: "It's a must win for both teams after Ukraine's start, but I think we'll sneak it 2-1."

Westminster Council said it will have a team of 54 road sweepers working throughout the West End until 10pm and another 24 sweepers continuing on until 6am with fans expected to pack bars and pubs to enjoy the football.

A council spokesman said: "It is clearly going to be a very busy night in the West End with people out enjoying the football in various venues.

"Our street crews can be deployed to wherever there might be any issues, so we will have the streets looking good again for Saturday morning."

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