Lampard thankful for 'home' support

After the "English invasion" of fans for the Slovenia game and South Africans pitching in, the midfielder is hoping for a repeat show against Germany.

PORT ELIZABETH // Frank Lampard, the England midfielder, has praised Three Lions fans for turning Port Elizabeth's Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium into a "home" game during his side's stylish 1-0 win over Slovenia on Wednesday. "The fans were fantastic," Lampard told The National. "After a lot of the negative things said in the press, some fans could not have been as vocal and supportive, but they were fantastic. There was a special feeling on the way to the ground and it was an England-filled stadium - it was like a home game and it definitely lifted the lads." Despite England's timid start to its World Cup campaign, an estimated 15,000 England fans flocked to Port Elizabeth for the crunch Group C match. In the days leading up to the game, the provincial port city's hotels, restaurants and shops were dominated by St Georges' Cross flags as local businesses embraced what Port Elizabeth press dubbed an "English invasion." South Africans also rallied behind Fabio Capello's side and a sea of red and white dominated the 36,839 crowd. Lampard is eager to see a repeat performance in Bloemfontein - the venue of Sunday's mouth-watering last 16 clash between England and Germany. "I hope they come and I'm sure they will - they seem to be travelling everywhere," Lampard added. "When they are supporting the team in that way they are the best fans in the world. When you're driving to the game and you see their faces and support, that can't help but get you going." Having described the Bloemfontein encounter as the "glamour tie" of the next round, Lampard stressed that England's players, despite having rediscovered their confidence, would be taking nothing for granted against their traditional nemesis. "We have to keep a steady head, we can't talk about ourselves as world beaters just because we beat Slovenia to get through the group," Lampard said. "But there are a lot of positives and we know that if we are at our best and play to our potential we have a chance to beat anyone." emegson@thenational.ae

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