A pumped-up Market Harborough football fan is walking on cloud nine after landing a ticket for England’s epic Euros showdown against Ukraine in Rome tomorrow night.
Ecstatic Brad Williams, 29, said he’s “over the moon” after getting his hands on the hottest ticket in town for the titanic quarter-final clash because he’s an expat living in Naples.
Now he’s preparing to make the 117-mile train journey to the Italian capital tomorrow to shout on coach Gareth Southgate’s revved-up Three Lions as they bid to make the last four.
And to top it off Brad’s long-term girlfriend Masha, 26, is Ukrainian – and she’ll be cheering on her heroes on the TV back at her home in Polish city Krakow.
“I’m just so delighted, so happy, to have been able to buy a ticket.
“This will be the first England match I’ve ever been to – and what a massive game to go to!
“I just can’t wait to get into the ground and roar us to victory,” Brad told the Harborough Mail from Naples today.
“It took me all day Wednesday to finally land a ticket.
“I was desperate to go to the game as soon as we beat Germany 2-0 on Tuesday night.
“I knew that I had a chance as an Englishman living in Italy – and joined several fans’ Facebook groups straight away,” said Brad, who teaches English to students in Naples.
“But I came across so many scammers wanting my money with no hope of a ticket that it proved such a headache, so stressful.
“The internet’s a minefield at the best of times and the FA have been given just 2,560 tickets.
“There’ll only be 16,000 supporters in the huge Stadio Olimpico in Rome and no one is allowed to fly in from England for it - so tickets really are like gold dust.
“I finally managed to grab one at 7.30pm on Wednesday through an English friend of mine here.
“And it’s only costing me the face value price of 75 Euros so happy days,” said Brad, who attended Welland Park Academy and Robert Smyth Academy in Market Harborough.
“I’ve got to have a Covid test today to prove I’m fine but I don’t have any worries about that.
“I’ve got to be in the ground by 6pm tomorrow night, three hours before kick-off at 9pm Italian time.
“I really think that we can beat Ukraine – and I’m going for a 3-0 win.
“I’m banking on Harry Kane, Jack Grealish and Raheem Sterling to fire the goals to storm us to glory.
“They call Rome the Eternal City – and now it’s time for England to become the Immortals there and make football history!
“It is funny that my girlfriend Masha is Ukrainian, it just gives this unforgettable sporting occasion an even bigger twist,” smiled Brad, who’ll be sat in Seat 9d in Row 50 in Block 47AD in the North Stand tomorrow night.
“Masha’s not exactly a devoted football supporter.
“But she’ll be glued to her telly in Krakow and cheering on the Ukrainian team, this is real history in the making for her football-mad nation as well.
“There’s so much pride at stake here for both our countries.
“But all my money is on Harry Kane and the boys blasting us straight into the semis and then through to the final.
“I was only four years old when we were beaten in the semis by Germany in the 1996 Euros when Southgate agonisingly missed his penalty in the shoot-out at Wembley.
“That won’t happen again.
“Big teams and pre-competition favourites like France, Portugal, Holland and the Germans have already crashed out of this tournament,” said Brad.
“I’m positive that we can beat either the Czechs or the Danes in the last four at Wembley next Wednesday if we do get past Ukraine.
“So the way to the final and the chance of lifting the Euros for the first time in our history is right there before us,” insisted Brad, a lifelong Sunderland fan.
“I’m so lucky, so relieved, so thrilled to be there in the Olympic Stadium in Rome tomorrow night soaking up the atmosphere and getting behind the lads.
“So come on England – let the Three Lions roar like never before and do our country proud!”