Birmingham city centre was left to the tourists for two hours yesterday as men, women and teenagers of all backgrounds packed into pubs and clubs to cheer on England.
As 4pm struck, a sunny Centenary Square was deserted apart from visitors snapping the war memorial. An ice-cream vendor lolled listlessly out of his van window listening to a radio commentary of the match.
Suddenly a distant cheer went up. A McDonald's worker sprinted along Paradise Forum to catch the tail end of the action at the Wetherspoons pub.
It was David Beckham with a classic free kick, just as the fans were starting to get impatient, which eventually saw England edge into the World Cup quarter finals with a 1-0 victory over Ecuador.
On Broad Street police lined the road, chatting and standing in knots, time on their hands. Bar Rococo was a sea of red and white wigs. Rapt faces were glued to the screens, the floor puddled with beer.
"Everyone was jumping up and down when Beckham scored," grinned a fan.
In the dying minutes of the match the stadium crowd started a chorus of Rule Britannia; fans in the pub joined in.
There were similar scenes of joy at a packed out fan park in Millennium Point and with the final whistle blown, Broad Street exploded into life again. Packs of boozy youths sang snatches of terrace chants.
The high point, it seemed, had been the atmosphere rather than the team's performance.
"We've played better, " shrugged sales rep Ian Nichols, aged 30. "It wasn't a great match."
Marcia Priestly, a recruitment agency manager, came for the carnival atmosphere. "I'm not normally into football, I've just come out for England."
Spanish telecoms consultant Daniel Seoane, 31, had bravely ventured out in a Brazil shirt.
"It is the same in Spain as well," he said. "I like it, it is patriotic. But I want Spain to win."