IT was a night of mixed emotions for England fans, who packed out pubs across the town on Saturday for the big World Cup match against Italy.

While England lost, many filed out in the early hours pleased with the overall performance.

Throughout the day more and more England shirts appeared on the streets in anticipation of the big game. By 10pm, an hour before kick-off, it was standing room only, with many pubs packed to the rafters.

After the early disappointment of Italy taking the lead, Swindon soon erupted in cheers as England pulled level before half time. But it was not to be and soon after the break Italy were back in front and the game was theirs.

As the fans made their way home they reflected on what could have been, though most were positive for England’s chances in the tournament.

Among them was 24-year-old Jake Hobson, of Old Town, who said: “It is obviously disappointing to lose but England were the better team for most of the game and probably deserved to at least get a draw.

“I think if we play like that again then we have a good chance to qualify for the next round. Everyone just needs to stay behind the team.”

Old Town’s Michael Langton, 53, also watched the game. He said: “Events like the World Cup are really good for getting everyone together.

“Wherever you go people are getting behind the team, which is why there is a great atmosphere in the pubs.”

For the pub industry, the World Cup is a huge boost and Saturday night was no exception.

Howard Taylor, the manager of the Steam Railway in Old Town, said: “The only real downer on the evening was the result. We were full to capacity and luckily the weather was good so we were able to fill the garden.

“So far the World Cup has been really good for us. A lot of people have come out for the games and there has been a really good atmosphere for a lot of the games.”