By Alexandra Hudson
Complaints that Cape Town had missed the World Cup party so far were silenced when England fans filled up the city's waterfront bars, posing for photos with Algerian fans and hanging flags up wherever they could.
"England's here now, Cape Town," said 50-year-old Lee Upton, a builder from London dressed as a knight and brandishing a plastic sword.
"The atmosphere here is fantastic ... this is one of the best places I've ever been to," he said, adding he would be taking the cable car up Table Mountain in his costume.
"We are going to win tonight 2-0," he predicted.
Many fans said they had just arrived in South Africa, lured by the attractions in Cape Town, South Africa's most visited city.
"Some of us went diving with sharks at the aquarium this morning and left an England flag in their pool," said Upton.
Germany's shock 1-0 defeat to Serbia heightened the mood as England fans waved an inflatable spitfire, a familiar prop from the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
Kevin Miles of the England supporters' association said FIFA had allocated 7,000 tickets to fans and several thousand more had travelled over with tickets they had obtained elsewhere.
"We are also expecting lots of South Africans to give us support, as some have English roots," he said.
England played their first World Cup Group C match against the United States in Rustenburg six days ago which ended in a 1-1 draw.
A two-goal victory Friday would put England top of the group with one to play against Slovenia Wednesday.
(Editing by Jon Bramley)