MORE than 2,000 people went through a rollercoaster of a night on Brighton beach watching England.
The fans were plunged into gloom when England conceded a goal, before hopes were raised with an England equaliser from Wayne Rooney, only for the evening to end in defeat against Uruguay.
Not put off by the gathering clouds, by 6.30pm 500 people had arrived at Brighton’s Big Screen and the crowd was in a jovial mood before the game.
Chris Trickey and Susannah Broadbridge, of Terminus Road, Brighton, were keen to enjoy the game whatever the result.
Mr Trickey, 43, a driving instructor, said: “When you watch the game with a lot of people you don’t mind about the result so much.
You feel the experience more than if you were watching at home. “I’m going to enjoy it whatever hap- pens.”
Before the game Ms Broadbridge, 41, an office manager, said she was feeling more nervous than during the last World Cup.
“In the first game we were playing well and also there’s less expec- tation this time round.”
By 7pm about 700 were waiting for the game and apart from a brisk breeze the weather was still holding up.
Jennie Blows, 24, an administrator, of Coombe Road, Brighton, said: “I like the atmosphere here, it’s better than watching the game in a pub.”
By 7.30pm 1,500 were enjoying pints and burritos from the food stalls.
Every time presenter Charmaine Davies asked over the PA system for fans to show support for their team, the cheers for Uruguay were few and far between compared to those for England, but no less enthusiastic.
The good-natured atmosphere persisted as the game drew closer. And by the time the game began more than 2,500 people were sat or stood in front of the big screen.
There were cheers from the crowd in front of the screen and the hundreds on the pebbles alongside the enclosure as the English national anthem was played.
Tancrede Bonnard, 33, office manager, of Highcroft Villas, said: “I don’t normally feel patriotic, but football would- n’t be football without the national anthem.
“It’s a nice, international crowd and everyone seems to be in good spirits. “You wouldn’t get such a good atmos- phere everywhere. It’s quite peaceful here, quite chilled out.”
There was a growing air of confidence following the nervous opening exchanges in which Uruguay put pressure on England and Suarez almost caught out Hart with a cheeky corner four minutes in.
Charlie White, 15, of Whitehawk, was among those on the beach with a group of
friends all wrapped in England flags.
He said: “It’s brilliant to be watching the game with all your mates. We don’t have an amazing view from here but it’s the closest we’ll get to Brazil.”
Tony Hawkins, 25, a retail manager, of North Drive, said he had Uruguay in a sweepstake at work and was going to be happy whoever won.
“It’s being here that’s important. Being around so many people who all care about the same thing makes you feel more of a part of the human race.”
When Rooney struck the crossbar hopes were raised but then when Suarez broke the deadlock he created more of a subdued atmosphere on the beach.
By half time England were still trailing but many felt there was still little to choose between the two sides.
Jeff Simmons, 25, a builder, of Portslade, said: “I am not happy at all. But at least we were fighting back. We normally flop when we’re losing but there’s been more heart in the players this time.”
Despite England’s attempts to fight back, Luis Suarez scored his second goal of the night to win the game, leaving the fans on the beach deflated for their journey home.