WFH: Watch, or work, from home on Monday as England kick off World Cup 2022 campaign

Team open group B campaign against Iran at 1pm UK time

England fans prepare at the Kirby estate in London. Reuters
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Millions of England fans are expected to work from home on Monday to watch the lunchtime kick-off of the country’s World Cup campaign.

England open their group B campaign against Iran at 1pm UK time before Wales make their first appearance at the World Cup finals since 1958 against the US at 7pm.

Estimates suggest a minority of office employees in England will make the journey into work, with a survey commissioned by Road to Victory, the UK’s biggest fan park, suggesting almost two thirds will stay home. Many who cannot work from home are expected to call in sick.

A spokesman for the Confederation of British Industry said: “While there will be jobs where it simply won’t be possible to follow the match, the majority of employers will take a common-sense approach and try to be flexible where they can.”

Office design consultancy Advanced Workplace Associates estimates that only one in five office employees will make the journey into work.

Many pupils are also expected to skip school.

Surveys suggest around one in 10 schools plan to broadcast the game for their pupils as the National Association of Head Teachers said it was up to individual institutions as to whether they wanted to screen the game.

Around 5,000 England fans are estimated to have made the trip to Qatar.

Almost 2,400 Three Lions fans applied for tickets for the Iran game via the England Supporters' Travel Club and Wales expect more than 2,500 of their supporters to have made the trip.

Their ranks are expected to be swelled by fans in the region, with shuttle flights from Dubai and taxi trips from Saudi Arabia among the options for those heading to the tournament.

Tom Cuffy, 25, will be among the second wave of England fans heading out later in the week and will use the shuttle flight service from Dubai to reach Qatar.

Manchester City fan Mr Cuffy, who lives in Dubai, said: “I'm absolutely buzzing, my first World Cup.

“I know a lot of people are moaning about it but being in Dubai has proven to be quite well-timed, everyone is really buzzing here for it, it's a really good vibe for it.”

Mr Cuffy said he felt the squad was “spot on”. He added that manager Garteh Southgate had “chosen a squad that's done well in the last two tournaments and ones who he can trust”.

“You've just got to back them again,” he said. “They've given us a couple of summers of good times. I don't see us winning it but if we can get to the semi-finals I think that would be brilliant.

“But looking at some of the teams, I think it'll be tough to get past the quarters to be honest.”

Jack Adcock, 25, who lives in Bolton and will be in Doha for two of England's group games, said he is hopeful England will make the final.

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He said: “I've got my work's Christmas-do on that Saturday before the final and at the moment I am a 50/50 — I've told them I'm meant to be at the final and I'll be flying out, and everyone at work says: 'We'll see you at the work's do, we'll order your meal already'.

“And I'm going 'no, I wouldn't be so sure', it's been a running joke in work for the past month of whether I'm going to be there or not.

“I would absolutely love to not be at the work's do because I will be at the final, but they're not convinced.”

Former athlete Colin Jackson, who is an ambassador for Wales in Qatar, told PA he was most looking forward to “beating England”.

England and Wales go head to head at Al Rayyan Stadium on November 29.

Wales First Minister Mark Drakeford told reporters in Doha that the country should “dare to dream” and that he was optimistic about the national team's chances of getting out of the group stages.

“The beauty of sport is that on the day, any team can win any game,” he added.

Updated: November 21, 2022, 9:04 AM