Southgate’s transformation of the England team, coupled with the Lionesses bringing it home over the summer, lead us all to believe the Lions could also secure victory. But a missed penalty meant a missed opportunity for pubs just as much as for the trophy.

Despite controversy and western reluctance for a winter tournament, the Qatar World Cup gave the pub and bar industry a much-needed short-term injection after a tough summer for the eating and drinking out market.

Inflation rose to 10.1% in July (the highest since February 1982) and weekly penetration fell to 47% – the lowest since April 2021 during lockdown. The 12 weeks to 4 September saw the biggest shift in behaviour, with those most impacted by rising cost of living such as C2DE and younger consumers leaving the market and consumers dropping drinks from their repertoires.

Pubs & Bars was the most impacted channel, losing almost -2ppts share versus the previous quarter, with weekly penetration dropping. Fewer punters, rising energy prices and staffing challenges forced many pubs to close their doors for good.

An energy price cap announcement and comparative government stabilisation settled the markets and instilled some confidence in consumers. The market saw the return of C2DEs, 18-24s and drink-only occasions bounced back.

Pubs & Bars also recovered. Weekly penetration for the channel grew, while its share of total occasions grew to 16%, up +2.4ppts. The excitement, anticipation and hope of the winning the World Cup brought us flocking back to pubs and bars.

The first match, inconveniently during a Monday lunch, still saw hordes of fans visit the channel. England’s 6-2 win against Iran was the incentive everyone needed to get out in the cold to cheer the team on with a drink and fellow fans.

For the first week of the World Cup, Lumina Intelligence’s data found that Pubs & Bars reached 17.5% – one of their highest shares in two years and higher than during the men’s 2020 Euros. Within this week, ‘watching sports’ rose to 15% of all Pub & Bar occasions, double the annual average of 6.7%.

The tournament was a boost to drink-only occasions, which comprised 40% in the four weeks ended 27 November, an increase of +9ppts share compared to 12 weeks before. Beer was the alcoholic drink of choice gaining a +5ppts share of alcoholic drink occasions in Pubs & Bars.

It wasn’t just the appeal of going to pubs with friends and family during the matches. One fifth of pub occasions were visited alone, a level unseen since pubs and bars reopened their doors post-pandemic. But the winning feeling, which is best enjoyed amongst others, all ended too soon.

An extra week in the tournament and an extra two games would have been a big win for pubs. Morocco’s success as the under-dog will have kept some punters engaged, but the feeling of young Jude ‘belting ‘em’ in the back of the net was hard to replace.

The countdown until the women’s World Cup and men’s Euros starts now. High hopes for England’s success, lower inflation and higher consumer confidence will be a winning formula for pubs and bars to see consumers return in record numbers and make history in more ways than one.