Dozens of Worcestershire pupils who missed out on a World Cup game in Germany because of an alleged ticket scam were in a jubilant mood yesterday after being told they would be going to the tournament.
The 43 pupils at North Bromsgrove High School have been promised seats at one of the quarter finals after Sports Minister Dick Caborn stepped in to hold emergency talks with FIFA.
The Government intervened after hearing how 350 youngsters across the country who had paid up to #400 for last weekend's trip were left disappointed when UK-based agency Tickets For All failed to produce tickets.
Andrew Mackereth, deputy headteacher of North Bromsgrove High, said the pupils were "absolutely ecstatic" over the news announced by 10 Downing Street yesterday. He said: "I still don't think many of them can believe it. One lad I spoke to thought it was a cruel joke; he just could not believe it."
Lydia Clements aged 15, from Lickey, was one of the youngsters to make the illfated trip to Germany, which had been planned for more than a year.
"I was talking to my French teacher after the lesson and she said a big screen was going up on the school playing fields for everyone to watch the next match, and I was saying it didn't make up for what had happened last week," she said yesterday.
"Then my friend ran in through the door and told us we were going to Germany and we all screamed, and I burst into tears. I cried with disappointment when they told us we wouldn't see the match and I cried when they told us we would."
Ryan Ward, aged 15, said: "The match we see will be even better than the group game we were originally seeing. We would all love to see England but any game at all is a bonus after what happened."
The 350 children from 11 schools across England had been expecting to watch last Saturday's game between the Czech Republic and Ghana.
Police investigations in the UK and Germany led to the arrests yesterday of a man and a woman in Slough.