Three Lions fans sun themselves on the beach as thousands flood into Qatar ahead of crunch World Cup tie with France

THOUSANDS of England fans have flooded into Qatar ahead of tonight’s crunch World Cup tie with France, as supporters have been pictured basking on the beach in the Gulf nation.

At least 15,000 supporters are expected to be in the Al Bayt stadium to cheer on Gareth Southgate’s men as the Three Lions face off against the World Cup champions at 7pm.

EyevineEngland supporters on the beach in Qatar ahead of tonight’s match with France[/caption]

EyevineNicole Haddon says she believes it’s coming home[/caption]

EyevineEngland fans have been sunning themselves in the Middle-Eastern heat[/caption]

Many more are believed to be in Qatar without tickets, enjoying the December heat in the Middle-Eastern country.

English ex-pats in the Gulf region are expected to be flying to Qatar in record numbers.

Less than 2,500 England supporters were in attendance for the opening World Cup group game with Iran, outnumbered 10 to one in the stadium.

But as Harry Kane and co swept through the group stage and dispatched Senegal 3-0 to set up a mouth-watering quarter-final clash, World Cup excitement has steadily grown.

England fans were allocated 7,000 official tickets for Saturday’s clash, but more than double that number are expected to be in the stadium.

One of the supporters who flew to Qatar for Saturday’s game, 22-year-old Nicole Haddon from Clapham, southwest London, told MailOnline: “We’ve got to take our hats off to England – they’re more than capable of bringing home the World Cup.

Nicole, who donned a bikini in the strict Muslim country as she sunbathed on the beach in Doha, added: “I’m looking forward to the battle between Walker and Mbappé, who needs to be man-marked to within an inch of his life. I didn’t realise he was so quick.

“Southgate had better let the team loose.”

Her friend, student Lucy Harrison, also 22, added: “The Three Lions will win with style.

“We’re best going forward and attacking. England don’t just rely on Kane, goals are coming from everywhere.”

Nick Evers, 47, from Wolverhampton, was slightly more cautious.

“It could be a really close game but I’m sure we’ll win,” he said. “England have improved with every game and this could be our year.”

While adoptive England fan Farzana Qomtaz, 20, from Malaysia, said: “The England team play such exciting football.

“My family and I watch the Premier League on TV and are huge fans of Liverpool.

“I am so happy to see Jordan Henderson playing for England. We love Liverpool very much.”

And with pre-tournament favourites Brazil knocked out yesterday on penalties by Croatia, some feel this could be England’s best chance in years.

EyevineHer and pal Lucy Harrison, right, flew to Qatar for the France game[/caption]

PAAn England fan in Qatar ahead of Saturday’s clash[/caption]

PAExcitement has been building ahead of the Quarter-Final clash[/caption]

Dan CharityChesney Hawkes has been entertaining England fans and locals in Qatar[/caption]

PAFrench fans in Qatar ahead of the game[/caption]

EPASo far there has been a carnival-like atmosphere in Doha[/caption]

EPAEngland have never reached a World Cup semi-final outside of Europe[/caption]

PAA French supporter wearing a very fetching hat[/caption]

Three Lions superfans Neal Weekes and Fil Sollof, have travelled from England to Qatar just for Saturday evening’s game, a 48-hour round trip.

The pair made the 6,500-mile journey by plane, train, car, and even cruise ship, travelling via Turkey to Doha.

Neal, 57, said: “We wouldn’t miss this match for the world. I really think it could be coming home.”

Fil, also 67, added: “It’s been pretty tiring but worth it.”

Father and son Garford and William Beck are also among the 69,000 supporters expected to be at the Al Bayt stadium tonight.

Derby fan Beck, 60, told the BBC he’s optimistic that England will make the semi-finals.

He travelled to Qatar before the World Cup started, watching England progress through the group stage and last Sunday’s Round of 16 clash with Senegal.

“The excitement is really building now,” he said.

“We’ve got the game against the French and we’re really looking forward to it.”

He went on: “I think the French will fear us. We’re making tentative plans to stay out here in the event that England win on Saturday evening.”

It follows reports that England tickets were selling for more than triple their original price ahead of this evening’s tie.

On Friday afternoon, ticketless England fans were being offered category one seats for up to £850, and category two for £575.

PAFrance’s Kylian Mbappe has been in blistering form at this World Cup[/caption]

GettyCan Kane and co make history tonight?[/caption]

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