The sight of Croatian players swamping Mario Mandzukic after the burly centre forward put the Balkan country ahead in the World Cup semi-final will be something that haunts England supporters for years to come.
The wounds from that dramatic night in Moscow may take a while to heal but if there is one thing that can sooth the soul it is a holiday. While the French celebrated along the Champs-Élysées as their national team won a second World Cup, the English are expected to wash away the disappointment with a much-needed holiday.
Thanks to England’s surprise progression to the latter stages of the tournament a lot of supporters had delayed their holiday plans to see if football did come home. The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) now expects an increase in bookings in what it has been dubbed as the ‘Southgate Surge’ (first coined by Der Touristik UK chief executive Derek Jones).
While the UK has sizzled in the longest heatwave for decades, temperatures are forecast to drop off in the coming weeks. In contrast, the Mediterranean is maintaining its glorious weather and there is the added incentive of being able to cool off in a pool or in the ocean.
ABTA has noted that British seaside towns of Bournemouth, Brighton and Eastbourne are drawing large number of holidaymakers but the pull of a European break is a little stronger. The organisation noted that a surge in bookings usually follows the national team exiting a major tournament, although it tends to be a lot earlier than this summer.
Victoria Bacon, director of brand and business development at ABTA, said: “The England team has done the country proud with its performances at the World Cup. Understandably, many football fans preferred to stay at home and follow the team with friends and family but now people’s attention will turn to their summer holiday.
“There are still some great deals to be had from ABTA Members to keep the feel good factor going with a break in the sun or a holiday at home. They won’t last for long – so anyone wishing to head off on holiday should book sooner rather than later.”
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