Thousands of England fans are gathered in Kiev ahead of the Euro 2012 quarter-final against Italy.

Many paid hundreds of pounds for last-minute flights, match tickets and accommodation to be among the 6,000 Three Lions supporters inside the Olympic Stadium.

A large number of supporters spent the hours before kick-off in the Kiev fan zone at Independence Square, drinking beer and singing songs in the glorious sunshine.

A contingent of British police officers - who conducted a joint patrol with their Italian colleagues - praised the behaviour of England supporters throughout the tournament.

Back home around 20 million people will watch the drama unfold on television, as England bid to secure a semi-final clash with Germany in Poland.

Avid England fan Chris Smith, 49, was going to avoid the tournament after the dismal World Cup display two years ago.

But the attitude of Roy Hodgson's side in the group matches persuaded him to spend £600 on a trip to support the team.

"I wasn't going to come but then I had the urge. I've been impressed by the performances and I thought 'why not?'."

Mr Smith, who flew from Birmingham to Kiev via Dusseldorf, has a flight home booked for tomorrow, but said he might go to Warsaw instead if England win.

Tom Taylor, 24, from Manchester, spent £750 on a two-day trip to be in the Ukrainian capital for the big match. He said: "I've got more into the tournament as it's gone along. If we win I'll come back out for Warsaw because it looks a lot easier to get there."