If England win tonight: A mental health boost, 6.8 million pints consumed and a potential day off

·6-min read
There could be many positive to England winning tonight. (Getty Images)
There could be many positives to England winning tonight. (Getty Images)

Even if you're not particularly into football, you'll have noticed the build up of excitement (and nerves) as England prepare to take on Denmark in the semi finals of the Euros 2020 tonight. 

Pushing penalty shoot-outs and other sources of major tournament disappointment aside, it genuinely feels as if something might be different this time (touching all the wood), hard though it to imagine after those 55 long years of hurt.

But what could happen if England actually win?

Our mental health could be given a boost

According to an NHS director watching football can actually be good for our mental wellbeing. 

Alistair Burns, NHS England Clinical Director for Dementia, says that for older people in particular there are clear benefits to watching classic football matches, like England's 1966 World Cup final victory, including keeping the brain active and stimulating memories. 

“Although fans may not feel it, football can be good for your nerves. The beautiful game really can help your mind and body," he said during England's World Cup campaign in 2018. 

“As well as being great physical exercise, there is a positive link between watching classic football matches and keeping the mind active. For people in old age and dealing with dementia, re-watching matches can rekindle past memories, connect people with their past and keep the brain active.

“Johann Cruyff was right when he said that football is a game you play with your mind, and sport of any kind has a unique power to keep the brain going.”

Read more: Why England manager Gareth Southgate is our new style icon

Burns says that the power of sport can stimulate emotion which can be revived many years after the event. 

Emotional memory, which is one of two main types of memory in the human brain, can be more powerful than memory for personal events, so as people in later life relive exciting or tense moments, this can stimulate memories, potentially strengthening brain activity.

Watching football can have positive impacts on mental health. (Getty Images)
Watching football can have positive impacts on mental health. (Getty Images)

But whether England win tonight will determine whether the impact on our mental wellbeing is positive or negative. 

Recent research revealed that watching football was equivalent to a moderate cardiovascular workout, while other observed benefits of watching football include the lowering of blood pressure (after a team win) and a boost to psychological mood.

More negatively, however, a loss resulted in an extended period of low mood and depression.

The study analysed 25 football fans aged between 20 and 62 and found that a win improved mood for a period of 24 hours. 

The longer fans had supported their team, (er that will be a lifetime with England then) the greater the accompanying physiological and psychological effects.

We could get a day off

If England do go on to win tonight, fans are hoping the government will keep the feel-good factor going by announcing a national day off on July 12, the day after the final. 

Sadly, because there are set rules in place for granting a bank holiday, and given how soon the final is, it seems this is unlikely to actually get the go ahead. 

However, that doesn't mean individual companies can't reward their workers with a day off, particularly in these stress-ridden, coronavirus-laden times. 

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According to Marcus Beaver, UK and Ireland country leader at Alight Solutions, granting employees with an extra day off could help give them an emotional boost.

“England winning the Euros would generate a huge sense of national pride and could represent a good chance for employers to reward their workforce," he told The Sun

“Businesses who offer Euros-related leave could reap the rewards of an appreciative and motivated workforce.

"All businesses can’t do this by any means, but it could be a wise move for some, who want to give staff morale a boost and demonstrate that the C-suite [executives] genuinely cares about workers on the ground."

Watch: England fans delight in 4-0 win over Ukraine. 

Booze sales will boom

Whether or not England manage to get through to the final, there are likely to be a few sore heads tomorrow morning with fans predicted to drink 6.8 million pints during the Euro 2020 semi-final against Denmark.

The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) believes punters will buy 50,000 pints a minute over the course of two hours.

Ten million pints could be purchased by the end of the day, as supporters pack out pubs before and after the match.

Hangovers aside, the BBPA hopes the evening will offer a much-needed boost to the hospitality industry which has taken a hit during the coronavirus pandemic. 

"With England fans’ support, we hope that pubs will sell 6.8 million pints during the semi-final match," BBPA’s chief executive Emma McClarkin explains. 

"If the team goes on to win, a final at Wembley awaits, which would be a huge boost to our pubs and the nation."

There could be a few sore heads tomorrow if alcohol-consumption predictions are correct. (Getty Images)
There could be a few sore heads tomorrow if alcohol-consumption predictions are correct. (Getty Images)

...But beware the potential negatives

While there could be many benefits of an England win, there are also concerns about some potential negative impacts of a loss.

Though international tournaments can be a time for positivity and national pride, there is some evidence of a darker side to the events. 

A study published by Lancaster University in 2013, found that reported cases of intimate partner violence increased by 38% when England lost and by 26% when they won or drew in the tournament.

This prompted the National Centre for Domestic Violence to run a national awareness campaign with the headline ‘If England gets beaten so will she’ across an image of a woman’s bloodied face. 

To help raise awareness that men can be victims of abuse too, the campaign also featured images of a man with bruises resembling the colours of the French and Belgium flag.

Commenting on the powerful campaign Jo Wallace, creative director of communications agency,J Walter Thompson London (JWT), told Yahoo UK at the time: “As fans across the world watch each game with trepidation, so too do the partners of some of those fans.

“This lesser known, darker aspect of football is clearly communicated with this impactful campaign, ‘The Not-So-Beautiful Game’.

"The team saw these stats and immediately created this excellent work to help reach and support victims of Domestic Violence ...when they are in particular danger.”

Read more: Super-fit great grandad, 80, is UK's oldest Sunday league player

Though the link between football and domestic abuse is complicated, some experts believe alcohol could play an important role in the relationship. 

Following England’s victory against Sweden in the World Cup 2018, the country was inundated with 999 calls, with the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) reporting 387 football-related incidents, most of which were alcohol-related.

So while there could be potential positives or pitfalls when it comes to the result, let's get behind the team and hope that football is finally coming home. 

Good luck, England. 

If you are worried about your relationship or that of a friend or family member, you can contact the Freephone 24-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline – run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge – on 0808 2000 247 or visit the website.

Watch: The England team arrive at hotel ahead of the semi final. 

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