London is to get its very own World Cup fan zone as 30,000 tickets go on offer to watch England’s semi-final in Hyde Park.
A ballot has opened for a free screening of the match against Croatia on Wednesday, when the Three Lions have the chance to qualify for their first World Cup final since 1966.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan made the announcement on Monday with Culture Secretary Matt Hancock, who was promoted to health secretary later in the day.
Mr Khan said talks were continuing about staging a similar screening should Gareth Southgate’s team make it to the final.
“World Cup fever has gripped London and the rest of the nation and we have all been swept away by the fantastic exploits of Gareth Southgate’s team,” he said.
“Wednesday evening is a huge opportunity for our boys to do what many of us thought was impossible before the World Cup began and reach the final.”
Mr Khan stressed he wanted the screening to be a “family-friendly” event, following chaotic scenes in parts of London following the quarter-final win over Sweden.
Police and ambulance services criticised people who trashed an ambulance, while fans were also seen celebrating in an Ikea store.
Mr Khan said: “We want this to be a family-friendly occasion and a chance for England fans young and old to show the positive spirit of football to the country and the world.”
Mr Hancock said: “Gareth Southgate and his amazing team have brought people together this summer.
“Wednesday is a special day for our nation and I’m thrilled people will be able to come from far and wide to watch the game and cheer on England together.”
Registration for the ballot was originally due to close at midnight on Monday, but it was extended until 8am on Tuesday due to the high volume of website traffic. Tickets will be allocated on a lottery basis.
Fans who are not successful are warned not to attend, the Mayor’s Office said.
To apply, fans should visit https://www.bst-hydepark.com/events/detail/croatia-v-england/
The match will kick off at 7pm British time.