An England fan who got sacked for pulling a sickie to watch the Three Lions' historic Euro 2020 semi-final win over Denmark has boasted she would "do it all over again".
Footy-mad Nina Farooqi, 37, lost her job as an office worker after appearing on TV celebrating one of England's goals against the Danes in Wembley Stadium on Wednesday.
Despite telling her bosses she was too ill to work, she was photographed wrapped in an England flag set behind the goal when a Simon Kjær own goal brought England level during the 2-1 victory.
But joy soon turned to despair the next morning when her boss phoned her to let her know she had been fired.
However, while she admits she didn't want to get fired, she revealed she would gladly risk the sack again.
"We were all over the news, my face was on every television screen across the world – I had friends from Australia and America telling me they’d seen me," she told the Telegraph.
“I was even on Stacey Dooley's Instagram story. My phone blew up. The whole world had seen me celebrating. The rational part of me thought: 'Oh no, is this going to come back to haunt me?'
"There is a bit of regret, no one wants to get fired, but then also I would have hated the regret of missing out. I’d do it all over again."
Nina, from Ilkley in Bradford, West Yorkshire, added that she had to pull a last-minute sickie after winning a ticket in a ballot.
She said she feared her ex-employer would not allow to take the time off because they were short-staffed.
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And the fanatical supporter, who declared that "football is her life", feared she would be spotted after noticing her seats were right behind the goal.
Nina assumed she would be masked by the rest of the 66,000 who attended the huge football match.
She was shocked to discover she had in fact been seen when England equalised when she checked her phone at half-time.
"It’s mixed emotions: we’re through to the final, I’m still on that high, but I’ve also lost my job," she said.
"My friend won the ticket in her work ballot, and knew I'd do anything to get to the game – there was no way I was going to turn it down.
"This hasn’t come around since 1996, I vividly remember crying on my mum's sofa when Gareth Southgate missed his penalty (in Euro 96), and the football fan in me just couldn’t do it. Football is my life."
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She rushed back home on an early train to get ready for work, but before she arrived her boss told her not to bother turning up.
"They said they’d seen I’d been at the game, and I was honest about why I did it," she said.
"But I didn’t get any sympathy at all and they said that's it. That’s their call and the consequence of what I did."
Former boss Charles Taylor, director at Composite Prime, said Nina was sacked for "lying" and "breaching her contract".
“It’s an exciting time for everyone in England and given the opportunity, we would have encouraged attendance to such an important football match," he said.
"Unfortunately on this occasion our employee lied, taking one day off sick to attend the football match on Wednesday.
"This was in breach of her employment contract and so we had no choice but to take the appropriate action.
"As a business we value honesty and integrity, and we don't tolerate any employee taking advantage of our policies.
"Like many businesses will be doing across the county, our staff will be having Monday morning off to hopefully recover from celebrating an England win."
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