Solid start for England

England fans celebrate in the Park Inn after England score against France.
England fans celebrate in the Park Inn after England score against France.
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PASSIONATE England fans declared themselves happy with an opening match draw against in-form France in the European Championships last night.

Poolies pulled on their Three Lions shirts in support of Roy Hodgson’s men as they started their campaign in the competition with the impressive result.

And despite being pulled back by Samir Nasri’s equaliser after Joleon Lescott opened the scoring with a powerful header, the majority of fans were in agreement that the result puts England in a good position to qualify from the group stages.

England fans in Hartlepool weren’t the only ones who were satisfied with last night’s result.

Frenchman Daniel Raudin, who moved to Hartlepool in 1985 and now runs Raudin’s Restaurant, in York Road, said France will always be his first team but hopes to see both teams qualify for the quarter finals.

After watching yesterday’s game, Daniel, a dad-of-two who runs the restaurant with his wife, Kathleen, 60, said: “I think France were the stronger team, they missed some good chances.

“But it is a good result for both teams, I am happy.

“Both teams are very unpredictable, but I hope they both go far.”

The majority of England fans aren’t getting carried away after last night’s draw and still want to make sure the team qualify before looking any further.

The atmosphere was a happy one at the final whistle in the Park Inn, in Park Road, Hartlepool.

Mark Skirving, a 30-year-old primary school teacher who lives in the Bishop Cuthbert area of Hartlepool and was watching the game in the pub with his pals, said: “That’s a good point.

“It’s the hardest game in our group out of the way and we looked quite solid.

“There’s no real expectations on England this year, I’d be happy for us to get out of the group.”

Paul Coates, a 21-year-old electrician who lives in the Park Road area of town was also in the Park Inn to watch the match.

He said: “I’ll take that result.

“It was Roy’s first competitive game in charge and it was a decent performance.

“I don’t think we will go on to win the thing, but lets just take one game at a time.”

Rick Hanlon, who runs the Park Inn said: “I expected to have about as many people in the pub as we did.

“It’s the first game and nobody really knew what to expect.

“I think it will be absolutely packed out on Friday for the next match.”