Brits neck 6m pints during World Cup as they spent staggering £64m at pubs

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    They were among a global TV audience of 1.5 billion who tuned into the desert duel between Argentina legend Lionel Messi and France wing wonder Kylian Mbappe in Qatar.

    Fans blew £16m on ale watching the action in the nation’s 30,000 pubs.

    Up to 20 million who tuned in at home spent £36.8m on food and drink, £4.5m on replica kit, £2.3m on souvenirs and £4.5m on new TVs for the match.

    READ MORE: World Cup's 'sexiest fan' could sell out Man Utd 40 times following World Cup follower boom

    Experts said the tournament – held in the winter for the first time in the World Cup's 92-year history – had given the ailing economy a £2bn pre-Christmas boost.

    Over the past month supporters have spent £1.6bn on food and drink from shops and superstores for football parties at home.

    Another £318.7m was spent on TVs, £197m on England shirts and kits, £61.4m on souvenirs.

    While the £441.8m blown on booze and grub watching the match in pubs and restaurants had helped keep many survive a post-Covid cash crisis.

    Anita Naik, savings expert at VoucherCodes, said: The news agenda is full of stories of the cost-of-living crisis, strikes and bad weather – all of which is taking its toll on the economy.

    "But one thing is for sure, this World Cup has made a hugely positive impact to retail and hospitality spending during this difficult time.’’

    More than 30,000 Argentina fans sold their homes, cars and borrowed cash from loan sharks to make the 17,000-mile round-trip to the Middle East to watch the match at the spectacular Lusail Stadium.

    READ MORE: Fans slam FIFA having Iker Casillas deliver World Cup trophy after 'coming out as gay'

    Their numbers were swelled inside by 20,000 locals sporting the South American's famous blue and white shirts.

    Just 4,000 French fans made the trip to see the reigning champions attempt to become only the third team in history to retain the famous trophy.

    One entrepreneur was flogging access to a VIP suite inside the stadium for 13 fans for £1m.

    Argentina fans defied the country’s economic meltdown to make the trek hoping to see history.

    Gaston Didier-Lardet, 33, from Mendoza, made a 12-hour, 6,500-mile flight from Australia where he was working in a mine.

    "I am a Messi soldier. He is proof of total sacrifice,’’ he said.

    READ MORE: Kylian Mbappe appears to make hand gesture at Lionel Messi after France's equaliser

    "You have to be here. I've heard crazy stories of people selling their houses, their cars, possessions – anything to see Messi lift that world Cup.

    "We know it is his last chance and he is a God to us.’’

    Masseur Sergio Fuentes, 38, who travelled 18 hours and 9,000 miles from New Zealand, said: "I felt that I had to be here.’'

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