It will be one of those rare afternoons when England – or at least a great chunk of it – pauses. Tens of thousands of football fans have booked the day or the afternoon off work so they can give their full attention to the travails of the England team.
Others with sympathetic bosses will be able to break away to watch the crucial World Cup game against Slovenia on specially set-up screens, with the rest forced to rely on sneaky looks at tucked-away televisions or discreetly following the action online.
Hundreds of schools have made special arrangements to cope with the 3pm kick off, some erecting screens to make sure children can watch Fabio Capello's team and others giving their pupils the chance to go home early.
Many local authorities are letting staff work flexibly so they can take in the game. Emergency services bosses insisted public safety will not be compromised but will try to make the football available.
The TUC today led the calls for employers to allow staff access to the game. General secretary, Brendan Barber, said to "avoid tension" bosses should encourage employees to watch the game if they wanted to and make up the time later. "That way, everyone wins," he said.
A survey by the energy company nPower suggested almost two-thirds of businesses would let staff watch the game and almost 40% would actually screen the game. It is asking firms to turn off "nonessential" equipment such as computers or copiers to prevent a power surge.
A snapshot of businesses in one city, Bristol, showed different approaches. Bosses at the insurance giant AXA's offices in Bristol have hired a 61-inch flat screen television to make sure fans do not miss out.
Not far away, staff at the law firm Burges Salmon have been told they can watch the game on a big screen in the nearby Queen Square as long as they make the time up and clear it with their line manager. "People are seeing it as a treat – it's good for morale," said spokeswoman Janey Abbott.
The financial services company Hargreaves Lansdown in Bristol has organised a charity "mufti" day and has reserved an area in a nearby bar for staff but only for those who have booked the time off.
Many large companies have been extravagant. The cereal giant Kelloggs is setting up a screen in the atrium of its base in Manchester while a marquee is being erected at the head office of the Phoenix Group, the life assurance company, in Birmingham. Many business people will entertain clients by meeting them at a screening.
Among schools that are making sure pupils will not miss out is the Cavendish School in Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire. It has shortened registration, break and lunchtime so that children can leave at 2.30pm. Those who cannot go home will be able to stay in the (football-less) library.
Headteacher Stephen Pam said: "The football fans in the school are thrilled. It's all about being flexible."
Some parents across the country have expressed surprise that schools have shut early or are halting lessons to screen the game but Pam said the decision was by no means something new – he had been given time off in the early 60s to watch a cup final.
There were complaints from some students whose exams fall during or just before the game.
Other fans were grumbling that operations were clashing with the game. David Tod, the chief executive of the NHS Trusts Association, said most medical staff would probably be able to catch the game on ward televisions or in staff rooms: "Obviously it wouldn't be appropriate for people in operating theatres or accident and emergency departments to stop what they are doing for the game."
Officially many local authorities were saying staff would have to work as normal. But Richard Kemp, a Liverpool city councillor and the deputy chairman of the Local Government Association executive, said: "Like any good employer, local authorities will be sensible. They'll allow people to get in early and leave a little early where possible. Success in football is good for the country – Liverpool buzzes for two weeks when there's been a big win for one of the clubs here."
But if England does win, expect a few extra absences from work on Thursday.
The British Beer and Pub Association expects 3 million people to watch the game from pubs and bars. Hangovers are bound to follow. FirstCare, which specialises in the management of absenteeism, says there could be a silver lining in a defeat.
FirstCare chief executive Aaron Ross, said: "If England do well more people will be celebrating and end up taking tomorrow off. It is by no means any real consolation, but if England fail to win the match businesses will save millions in reduced absenteeism."