England fans hit the pubs in Australia ahead of the Lionesses’ World Cup clash with China as they bid to qualify for knockout stages

England fans are lining up to hit the pubs today ahead of their final World Cup group game match against China, which they face playing without key squad member Keira Walsh.

Supporters of the Lionesses were getting the pints in hours ahead of the match in Australia on Tuesday, which kicks off at 12pm UK time, but those who made the long journey across the world were packing into pubs before a long night of football.

England flags, posters and even hair cuts were spotted in local pubs ahead of the clash at the Hindmarsh stadium in Adelaide, with two early wins for the team putting fans in high spirits.

The Lionesses beat Haiti and Denmark in their opening group games, although faced a potentially vital loss after midfielder Keira Walsh went down with a knee injury early in the second match.

But after it was confirmed she had not ruptured her ACL and that Georgia Stanway would be taking over the role in today’s match, fans seemed more upbeat in Adelaide on Tuesday.

England fans rush to the pub in Australia ahead of their team’s final group game in the World Cup

A fan in an England shirt and red bucket hat enjoys a pint ahead of the match at 12pm UK time

A fan in an England shirt and red bucket hat enjoys a pint ahead of the match at 12pm UK time

An England fan shows their support prior to the FIFA Women's World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 Group D match between China and England at Hindmarsh Stadium

An England fan shows their support prior to the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 Group D match between China and England at Hindmarsh Stadium

Fans arriving early outside the stadium sported dramatic face paint, flags and banners as they geared up for what they hoped would be a night of celebrations. 

Chinese fans were also well-represented, some even bringing inflatable dragons.

The English players looked relaxed as they walked the pitch before heading down the tunnel ahead of the game, while their coach appeared calm and collected.

Fans began filling up the stadium in Adelaide around an hour before the scheduled 12pm kick off. 

England boss Sarina Wiegman made three changes to her starting line-up to face China in the Lionesses’ final Group D contest.

Katie Zelem will start in the World Cup for the first time, while Jess Carter and Lauren Hemp returned to the starting XI.

The injured Keira Walsh remained at England’s Terrigal base, while Ella Toone and Chloe Kelly were among the substitutes after starting against Denmark.

An ACL rupture is one of the worst injuries a player can receive and had already ruled out Beth Mead and Lucy Williamson from the World Cup squad after their dominant presence in the Euros.

Walsh crumpled to the floor in the 38th minute of the clash with Denmark after her studs caught in the turf. 

Some fans even sprayed England flags into their hair as well as being draped in flags

Some fans even sprayed England flags into their hair as well as being draped in flags

England fans piled into pubs on Tuesday and looked optimistic about their team's chances

England fans piled into pubs on Tuesday and looked optimistic about their team’s chances

England fans in the The Elephant British Pub before the match at FIFA Women's World Cup 2023

England fans in the The Elephant British Pub before the match at FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023

Should England win or draw the match and thus get the point they need to top their group they will avoid a last 16 clash with Australia and instead face Nigeria

Should England win or draw the match and thus get the point they need to top their group they will avoid a last 16 clash with Australia and instead face Nigeria

The Lionesses looked relaxed ahead of their game on Tuesday evening (Australian time) - L-R England's Lauren James, Rachel Daly, Lucy Bronze and Georgia Stanway

The Lionesses looked relaxed ahead of their game on Tuesday evening (Australian time) – L-R England’s Lauren James, Rachel Daly, Lucy Bronze and Georgia Stanway

The midfielder was clearly ion agony as she gestured towards the bench, mouthing the words ‘I’ve done my knee’ to England’s medical staff, before leaving the pitch in tears on a stretcher.

But following a scan, it was confirmed that the injury was not as bad as first feared although she must rest during England’s final group game against China on Tuesday.

Walsh was seen as a key player with vital experience ahead of the tournament, and appeared in all but four minutes of the Lionesses’ Euros campaign. 

It comes ahead of a crucial match which will determine who England face in the last 16.

China won their most recent game against Haiti 1-0, but lost out to Denmark, who England beat last week. 

Instead of Walsh Stanway, 24, will take the reigns of the No 6 shirt, which will require more defensive work and take on the responsibility of being the seamless link between the attacking and defensive team members.

Speaking with reporters on Monday ahead of the game, Stanway said: ‘I think for me it’s just covering that discipline element into the game, knowing I don’t always have to be running to help with the attack.

‘It’s just knowing I need to protect the back four too. That position comes naturally to me because I’ve played it a little bit at club. 

A young England fan smiles at the Hindmarsh Stadium ahead of England's final group game

A young England fan smiles at the Hindmarsh Stadium ahead of England’s final group game

England manager Sarina Wiegman appeared cool and collected ahead of her team's final group game

England manager Sarina Wiegman appeared cool and collected ahead of her team’s final group game

Pubs in Adelaide were already kitted out in England decorations ahead of Tuesday's match

Pubs in Adelaide were already kitted out in England decorations ahead of Tuesday’s match

Keira Walsh will be replaced by Georgia Stanway, both of whom lift the Women's Finalissima trophy after the team's victory during the Women's Finalissima 2023 match between England and Brazil at Wembley Stadium on April 06, 2023

Keira Walsh will be replaced by Georgia Stanway, both of whom lift the Women’s Finalissima trophy after the team’s victory during the Women’s Finalissima 2023 match between England and Brazil at Wembley Stadium on April 06, 2023

The clash will take place at the Hindmarsh stadium in Adelaide (pictured on Tuesday)

The clash will take place at the Hindmarsh stadium in Adelaide (pictured on Tuesday)

Georgia Stanway has ‘the beans’ for taking on No 6 shirt 

Following Walsh’s injury, Stanway is set to take over the No 6 shirt in Adelaide on Tuesday. 

But Stanway, 24, is not phased. There was no sense of doom and gloom as she answered questions on Monday. She is ready to step up in Walsh’s absence and, in her own words, ‘give the beans’.

‘I woke up this morning feeling a lot more mature!’ a relaxed Stanway joked on Monday.

‘I’ve created a little bit of a leadership role with the way that I’m playing. I feel a lot of confidence in my own game and I’ve been consistent off the back of the Euros so I’m just trying to keep that momentum.

‘I feel I’ve proven my leadership in the way that I play and lead by example. I’m not afraid to communicate as well so I’ll try and do the two jobs.

‘When you go to a World Cup there’s absolutely everything to play for. You want to give it the beans and turn up. You want to put on your best performance.’

She continued: ‘I think for me it’s just covering that discipline element into the game, knowing I don’t always have to be running to help with the attack,’ Stanway said of her positional change.

‘It’s just knowing I need to protect the back four too. That position comes naturally to me because I’ve played it a little bit at club. I’ve played alongside Keira [Walsh] who is the best teacher without knowing it. Going into (Tuesday) it’s about communicating in the middle of the pitch.

‘I speak to Keira 24/7. To be honest it’s about 10 minutes of football-related stuff and the rest is just rubbish. I’m sure she will be giving me some tips and I’m sure the message will be to perform in the game. She’s got trust in whoever is going to be on the pitch.’

‘I’ve played alongside Keira [Walsh] who is the best teacher without knowing it. Going into (Tuesday) it’s about communicating in the middle of the pitch.

‘I speak to Keira 24/7. To be honest it’s about 10 minutes of football-related stuff and the rest is just rubbish. I’m sure she will be giving me some tips and I’m sure the message will be to perform in the game. She’s got trust in whoever is going to be on the pitch.’

Should England win or draw the match and thus get the point they need to top their group they will avoid a last 16 clash with Australia and instead face Nigeria.

But the loss of Walsh could prove challenging for their opponents too. Previously squads had realised that marking Walsh and preventing her from getting a foot to the ball was a sure way to make England’s game that much harder.

Without her, it remains to be seen whether China will continue the strategy and block Stanway instead, or resort to other game plans.

England are already missing Leah Williamson, Beth Mead and Fran Kirby due to injury but losing Walsh for the remainder of the tournament would be a significant blow. The midfielder has missed just two games since October 2021. 

Coach Sarina Wiegman, however, dismissed suggestions that playing without Walsh was a major problem for England. 

And England players were similarly positive.

‘Initially it was heartbreaking, you always fear the worst in those situations,’ Rachel Daly admitted.

‘She’s such a pivotal part of our team on and off the pitch. It’s tough, it’s not nice to see anyone get injured.

‘It’s obviously difficult losing a player of her ability and the quality she brings.’

Daly continued: ‘Obviously things will have to change but it’s a team game and we have to get on with it and ultimately get the job done for Keira as well.

‘I think everyone is in better spirits going into the game knowing that we need to get the job done.

‘I think what you saw on Friday was the resilient side that we had. It was obviously so difficult losing her but we have players to step into that role.

‘No one is going to replace somebody else, everybody brings something different to the role. I think everyone will step up for her.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk