England fans steady nerves with early-morning beers as they head into battle against New Zealand

Tens of thousands of rugby fans descended on Japan‘s Yokohama today as anticipation mounted over what was set to be a clash of the titans between England and New Zealand in the world cup semi final.

Cheering supporters clutching pints littered the city’s streets as they approached the 72,000-seat International Stadium.

There were crusaders and knights pitted against giant kiwis and Maori warriors, all hoping to watch their side progress to the final which will also be held in Yokohama.

Cheering supporters clutching pints littered the city's streets as they approached the 72,000-seat International Stadium

Cheering supporters clutching pints littered the city's streets as they approached the 72,000-seat International Stadium

Cheering supporters clutching pints littered the city’s streets as they approached the 72,000-seat International Stadium

There were crusaders and knights pitted against giant kiwis and Maori warriors, all hoping to watch their side progress to the final which will also be held in Yokohama

Defending champions New Zealand are set to be a tough test for Eddie Jones' men, but the coach seemed confident as he urged his team to 'make the script'

Defending champions New Zealand are set to be a tough test for Eddie Jones' men, but the coach seemed confident as he urged his team to 'make the script'

Defending champions New Zealand are set to be a tough test for Eddie Jones’ men, but the coach seemed confident as he urged his team to ‘make the script’

The All Blacks and England have battled it out three times before in world cups, with the Kiwis winning every match

The All Blacks and England have battled it out three times before in world cups, with the Kiwis winning every match

The All Blacks and England have battled it out three times before in world cups, with the Kiwis winning every match

A New Zealand fan enjoys the atmosphere ahead of the semi final clash of the titans at the International Stadium in Yokohama

A New Zealand fan enjoys the atmosphere ahead of the semi final clash of the titans at the International Stadium in Yokohama

A New Zealand fan enjoys the atmosphere ahead of the semi final clash of the titans at the International Stadium in Yokohama

England’s route to the semi final

England 35-3 Tonga

England 45-7 USA

England 39-10 Argentina

England vs France – cancelled

England 40-16 Australia 

New Zealand’s route to the semi final

New Zealand 23-13 South Africa

New Zealand 63-0 Canada

New Zealand 71-9 Namibia

New Zealand vs Italy – cancelled

New Zealand 46-14 Ireland

Defending champions New Zealand are set to be a tough test for Eddie Jones’ men, but the coach seemed confident as he urged his team to ‘make the script’.

The All Blacks and England have battled it out three times before in world cups, with the Kiwis winning every match.

New Zealand, which has not lost a World Cup game since a quarter final defeat to France in 2007, is aiming for an unprecedented third consecutive title and takes a six-game winning streak against England. No other team has won two World Cups in a row.

England is aiming to reach the final for the first time since 2007, when it lost to South Africa.

Martin Johnson’s men were eliminated in the quarterfinals in 2011 and failed to make it out of the group stage in 2015 in the tournament it was hosting.

More than 140,000 Britons were expected to make the 6,000-mile trip over the course of this year’s tournament – which put England as one of the favourites alongside the Kiwis.

Fearing overseas supporters will drink the Japanese outlets dry, official tournament sponsor Heineken has reportedly increased its beer production by 80 per cent.

When England hosted the last World Cup in 2015, their competition ended in misery after crashing out in the group stages.

More than 140,000 Britons were expected to make the 6,000-mile trip over the course of the tournament - which put England as one of the favourites alongside the Kiwis

More than 140,000 Britons were expected to make the 6,000-mile trip over the course of the tournament - which put England as one of the favourites alongside the Kiwis

More than 140,000 Britons were expected to make the 6,000-mile trip over the course of the tournament – which put England as one of the favourites alongside the Kiwis

A Queen toy figure on the top of an England fan's hat prior to the Rugby World Cup 2019 Semi-Final match between England and the All Blacks

A Queen toy figure on the top of an England fan's hat prior to the Rugby World Cup 2019 Semi-Final match between England and the All Blacks

A Queen toy figure on the top of an England fan’s hat prior to the Rugby World Cup 2019 Semi-Final match between England and the All Blacks

New Zealand, which has not lost a World Cup game since a quarter final defeat to France in 2007, is aiming for an unprecedented third consecutive title and takes a six-game winning streak against England. No other team has won two World Cups in a row. Pictured: England fans in fine spirits on Saturday

New Zealand, which has not lost a World Cup game since a quarter final defeat to France in 2007, is aiming for an unprecedented third consecutive title and takes a six-game winning streak against England. No other team has won two World Cups in a row. Pictured: England fans in fine spirits on Saturday

New Zealand, which has not lost a World Cup game since a quarter final defeat to France in 2007, is aiming for an unprecedented third consecutive title and takes a six-game winning streak against England. No other team has won two World Cups in a row. Pictured: England fans in fine spirits on Saturday 

A child's decorated shoes are seen outside the International Stadium in Yokohama ahead of the semi final

A child's decorated shoes are seen outside the International Stadium in Yokohama ahead of the semi final

A child’s decorated shoes are seen outside the International Stadium in Yokohama ahead of the semi final

This is the first time the tournament has been held in Asia since its 1987 inception, and famously merry rugby fans have been advised to respect Japan’s culture while enjoying the rugby.

England boss Eddie Jones, who used to coach Japan and masterminded their shock win over South Africa in 2015, was expected to be given a huge cheer by the local fans when his face was shown on the big screen.

The winner of today’s match will face Wales or South Africa – who clash on Sunday in Yokohoma.

It is only Wales’ third semi final and they will need to be on top form to beat a powerful Springboks side who will be confident after stuffing Japan 26-3 last weekend.

The British team scraped through in a close 20-19 nail-biting thriller against France in Oita.

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