Where to join the cheering throngs

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The Independent Online

City centres, cinemas, stadiums, pubs and even restaurants are offering seats for the big game this evening.

At the O2 arena in Greenwich, a second giant screen has been installed in anticipation of 9,000 fans, topping the 5,000 at last week's England-France game, with a limited amount of free beer. Supporters will be able to experience the atmosphere at Twickenham, too, where, for around £70, a buffet is thrown in. In Manchester, the Odeon is offering free seats on a first come, first served basis.

And it's not just Trafalgar Square that will be buzzing with excitement as thousands will also gather in many other city and town centres.

Almost all of England's pubs, will screen the match and it is predicted an extra 8 million pints will be pulled.

Supermarket beer and ready-meal sales are set to shoot up. Sainsbury's is expecting to provide 12.5 million bottles and cans of lager, beer and cider and more than half a million curries. An extra 500,000 bottles of champagne have flown off the shelves at Tesco this week, along with lobster and, perhaps in anticipation of an unhappy ending to England's extraordinary run, Scotch whisky.

And many of those who will be staying at home to watch the match have upgraded their TVs for the occasion. Figures show sales of plasma sets have soared by around 40 per cent.

Jonny Wilkinson is expected to lead his men on to the field against South Africa before a television audience even higher than the 12.4 million who watched England's late comeback against France last weekend. Britain's electricity transmission system is forecasting demand to soar by 1,200 megawatts, as rugby fans old and more recent sit, fixated in front of their screens and millions of kettles boil in unison at half time.

Whatever the outcome the Rugby World Cup Final will bring a huge boost to the economy as people either celebrate or commiserate. According to the Centre for Economics and Business Research £200m will be spent in Britain if England triumphs or £150m if England loses.

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