MILLIONS will slope off from work early today for England’s Euros showdown with arch foes Germany.
The Great English Bunk-Off will see staff take early cuts to be in front of a screen in time for the 5pm kick-off.
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After 18 months of Covid misery, the vast majority of bosses will turn a blind eye or allow employees to make up work time later.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Bosses should talk to staff and try to let people who want to watch games do so — either at work, or at home — and claim back working time afterwards."
Business chiefs were on side with the idea. A spokesman for the Confederation of British Industry said: “Many businesses will show flexibility and common sense to let staff finish early or make up hours. But if it goes to penalties, that could be a good moment to catch up on your email."
Capacity at Wembley Stadium will double to 45,000 tonight as Covid restrictions ease. But with quarantine rules keeping German fans away, Gareth Southgate’s side has a huge home advantage.
England line-up for tonight’s showdown as favourites to win after topping their qualifying group without conceding a goal.
The Germans finished runners-up in their group and have already been beaten.
A quarter-final place against either Sweden or Ukraine in Rome is the prize for tonight’s winners — with the dreaded prospect of a penalty shoot-out if the knockout game stays deadlocked.
England were favourites to win through to the last eight at 3/4 last night with Germany at 21/20.
A late flood of English punters backed Germany to win — while praying for a Three Lions triumph. Bookies said fans were betting on the enemy to ease their pain should England crash out.
A Paddy Power spokeswoman said: “This is one of the clearest cases of emotional hedging we’ve seen.” Miss England is leading the cheers for the Three Lions.
Dr Bhasha Mukherjee, 25, who has been working at an NHS hospital on the Covid frontline, posed with an England flag. A 27 million-strong army of England fans will watch the game across the country hoping for more goals from Raheem Sterling who has already scored two.
It will be the biggest TV sport audience since England’s 2018 World Cup semi-final defeat to Croatia. Motoring groups warned tonight’s rush hour could start as early as 3pm — and warned of jams. RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: “It could be the busiest early-afternoon weekday this year.”
Tickets for the clash with a face value of £43 to £159 hit £4,500-a-pair on the black market yesterday. The game will be shown on big screens at Trafalgar Square, London, and venues around the country.
Thirteen Showcase cinemas will show the match for free.
But All England Club tennis chiefs are refusing to screen it at Wimbledon — disappointing thousands who hoped to follow the football too.
The ban applies to the Murray Mound big screen and dozens of concourse TVs in show courts and around the grounds.
A Wimbledon spokesperson said: “We’re a tennis event.”
An extra 17,000 face-value tickets were sold to England fans yesterday.
Only a few hundred Germans are expected because most were unable to do five-day Covid quarantine in time.
England Supporters Travel Club member Simon Harris, 63, managed to secure tickets with wife Anna-Marie, 56, and son George, 25.
Simon, of Shropshire, said: “The extra tickets are fantastic news for England fans and will make it like a proper home game. I'm backing us to win.”
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