Bidding starts here for Rooney, England's man of the moment

Amid the jubilation of 45,000 England fans watching the emphatic win over Croatia last night, one man could be seen talking almost constantly into his mobile phone. Paul Stretford, Wayne Rooney's agent, was doubtless in the midst of a bidding war as his teenage client banged in the goals.

Also in the VIP section at the Estadio da Luz in Lisbon were Chelsea's billionaire owner Roman Abramovich and his chief executive Peter Kenyon, poised to trump any offer for the Everton player named man of the match and compared by the England coach Sven Goran Eriksson to Pele.

A week ago, England fans trudged downcast and in near silence out of the same stadium after a last-minute defeat by France. The scene could hardly have been more different last night as around 45,000 jubilant supporters left in full voice after the 4-2 win.

Heading either for the bars of central Lisbon or for the coastal resorts from Estoril to Albufeira, most fans agreed that after another fine performance, Rooney was the best young player in the world.

The 18-year-old striker was man of the match for his two outstanding goals, making him the tournament's top scorer with four and further inflating his market value.

Josh Simms, 25, from Beckenham, south-east London, said: "Rooney seems to get better with every game. He scared the French and has scored in the next two games. If we keep him fit and he doesn't get booked too often he can help us go all the way."

With France beating Switzerland 3-1 to come top of Group B, England will return to the same stadium on Thursday for a quarter-final against Portugal. It brings together the tournament's two best supported teams and in the eyes of some England fans who have warmed to their hosts it would have been the dream final.

Thomas Simpson, 21, a student from Nottingham, said: "I feel like one of the luckiest men alive. I've just graduated and I'm here for the entire tournament with a ticket for England's quarter-final. I think England have got every chance of beating Portugal despite their home advantage. They have some great individuals but are not so hot as a team.''

Darren Hollinshead, 35, a member of the official England supporters' club from Crewe, Cheshire, said: "I've got a ticket for the final and was going to come back for that but now I'm wondering whether I should leave at all - this opportunity might not come up again."

The result came as a blow to the estimated 9,000 Croatian fans in the stadium who needed a win to progress. Marco Lukic, 34, who was born in Croatia but lives in Frankurt, said: "Football and sport in general is massive for our nation and just about everyone will have watched the game at home as well as the majority of the four and a half million Croats who live abroad. We always said that if our team makes it to the quarters we would stay and if they lose we go straight home."

England fans have turned out in greater numbers for the group stages than any other nation. The 45,000 at last night's game brought the total attendance by England fans at the first three games to 110,000 - or 10 per cent of the total tickets available at Euro 2004. This compares with around 10,000 fans per game in the World Cup in Japan and Korea and the highest attendance during Euro 2000 in the Netherlands of 20,000 against Germany.

About 3,500 seats were empty in the stadium last night. The Football Association said it had received the tickets from the Croatians but were unable to complete background checks in time to sell them.

In Albufeira there was a party atmosphere after the match on The Strip, the scene of clashes last week between England hooligans and riot police.

News
newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
Life and Style
Scientist have developed a test which predicts whether you'll live for another ten years
health
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn