Shropshire Star

Salopian England fan flying the Shrewsbury flag in Qatar at his first World Cup

A Salopian England supporter abroad in Qatar for his first World Cup in the flesh is daring to dream football could be coming home for Christmas.

Jamie (in sunglasses) and the group with their Shrewsbury flag before the Iran game

Jamie Wallis, 29, is following England through the group stage of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar with a group of fellow Shrewsbury Town fans.

A ground worker from Ditherington, Jamie goes to as many England games as he can but it's the first World Cup he has been to, having made the decision last Christmas to fly out to Qatar for the tournament.

Almost a year later, he and his friends Steven Fox, Kieran Croft, Conor Bannister, Josh Herbert and Scott Phillips arrived in Qatar in time for England's first game on Monday.

"First impressions were fantastic - from the airport to the metro and when arriving at the hotel, everything was state-of-the-art and the staff were welcoming whilst doing their best to go the extra mile.

"For example, we weren't booked in for our hotel until Monday afternoon.

"We arrived there in the early hours of Monday and the staff tried their best to get us in early. We were in our rooms by 5am at no extra charge.

"Tickets, accommodation and travel hasn't been an issue."

The Shrewsbury fans in Doha

The party explored Doha to soak in the atmosphere before heading to England's Group B opener against Iran.

Despite some technical issues and a misplaced Shrewsbury flag, Jamie and co got to their seats without incident and enjoyed watching the Three Lions stick six goals past Iran.

"The Iran game was a great experience, there were a couple of delays with the Bluetooth which opened the ticket but by the time we got to the front of the queue, the tickets had come through.

Scott Phillips, Jamie Wallis, Steven Fox, Josh Herbert and Kieran Croft

"When we went through the security, our flag was measured and they told us it was too big. We asked for it to be looked after until after the game but they lost it.

"The game itself was brilliant, England looked great in possession and the players took their chances well.

"Hopefully Kane's ankle isn't too bad but there should be enough quality in the team to get past the next couple of games, then hopefully he's fit by the knock-outs.

"We've got tickets for all of the group games and a couple of the lads have got tickets up to the final but for that they will return home and then return for the game."

The Shrewsbury fans in Doha

Jamie went on: "Getting around the city before and after the games has been hassle-free. Again the staff are really helpful and the trains run every couple of minutes free of charge for ticket holders. We were even given a free SIM card with 2022 minutes, texts and data which lasted three days.

"Between games we've been in the city, the beach, hotels - and on Sunday we're going to Arcadia [a music festival]."

The group is looking forward to tonight's game against the USA and Jamie is bullish about England's chances in the final group game against Wales, who he jokingly called 'England B'.

"We should have too much for the USA - 3-0. Then rest a few players against England B!"

When asked about the chances of going all the way, Jamie simply said: "It's coming home!"