Shropshire Star

Young England supporters lift the roof off school hall with lessons put on hold for World Cup match

They almost lifted the roof off the school hall.

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Schoolchildren watching the match

Students at St Martin's School swapped the classroom for a fan zone created at the all-age school to watch Monday's England game.

And while there was no chanting and no booing, the young people's cheers were probably heard across the village as England scored again and again to rack up a 6-2 victory over Iran in the first match of Group B.

But there was also a huge sympathetic round of applause for Iran's goalie Ali Beiranvand as he was forced to leave the pitch injured in the first half.

Schoolchildren watching the match

Pupils from ages eight to 15 were chosen to be among more than 200 who spent the afternoon in the tiered seating hall after writing about why they wanted to watch the game.

Watching the game with friends and making memories were among the reasons written about, and one child was a Phil Foden fan who didn't want to miss his first World Cup competition.

And, with the school just a couple of miles from the Welsh border, Wales fans had the same chance to be picked to watch Friday's game.

Harry Nunnerley, 12, and Mcauley Parks, 12

One noticeable Welsh shirt amid the young England supporters was that worn by school head, Sue Lovecy.

"I live in Wales and my children are Welsh, so yes, I am supporting Wales," she said.

"We wanted the football supporters to be able to see the game, together, as a team themselves.

"Being a global citizen is one of our mottos and watching the World Cup is part of that.

"Four years is a long time for our students and this is something they will remember for a long time."

Head at St Martins School, Sue Lovecy, sporting her Wales shirt among England fans

One of those who remembers being in the same hall as a student 20 years ago was teacher Jed Machin.

"I remember coming in at 7am to watch the game as a pupil, now I'm watching it as a teacher," he said.

"Even though we lost against Brazil it was such a great experience."

Schoolchildren watching the match

Watching every second of the game was 12-year-old Cain Fox, whose eyes never left the big screen. He and Year Seven friends, Ewan Finch and Fraser Mckay agreed it was an amazing match.

Year Nine friends, 13-year-old Molly Roberts, Taya Evans and Faye Bamford Griffiths, said that after the Lionesses triumph in the Euros they were now willing the World Cup team to follow their lead.

Taya plays for the Welsh team Johnstone and said she was hoping both England and Wales would go through.

Other students supporting England who play in teams across the Welsh border included 15-year-old Corey James, left wing for Chirk under 16s, and 12-year old Harry Nunnerley who is in the under 13 team for Welsh Premier club TNS.

Mrs Lovecy praised the students after the 6-2 win and she was looking forward to joining the Welsh fans on Friday for the Wales V Iran match.

Writing in to gain a seat in the hall for that match included Jessie, a Wrexham season ticket holder, and Harri who wrote: "It has taken 60+ years for Wales to qualify and this might be the first and last time I can see Wales in the World Cup."