Thousands of football fans missed England's crucial World Cup goal after a huge power cut moments before the ball went into the back of the net.

The blackout hit south-west London at 3.20pm on Wednesday - just minutes before Jermaine Defoe scored the winner in the home side's nail-biting tie with Slovenia.

Gobsmacked fans at pubs in Richmond and Twickenham were left watching blank television screens and many spilled out on to the streets, still draped in England flags and pint in hand, desperately hunting somewhere to watch the crunch game.

The power failure also affected Hampton pumping station, which left about 500,000 homes without water for at least four hours.

Energy supplier EDF took the blame for the power cut, which affected TW1 to TW12 postcode areas for more than an hour, and apologised, saying it was due to a fault with a high-voltage cable network.

Fans described the disbelief that soon turned to anger when the power cut hit.

Grace Smith, 21,who was at Twickenham’s William Webb Ellis pub, said: “I think it’s a scandal. It’s bizarre. Some guy ran in shouting it’s 1-0.”

Steve Hurcom, 41, from Twickenham, said: “I reckon there were just too many people watching the game. It’s very annoying.”

Others were more philosophical. Richard Cook, 38, also at the Webb Ellis, said: “There’s a nice sense of camaraderie.

“This has happened there’s no point getting stressed out about it."

Many fans flocked to the only pub with a back-up generator - the Up ‘n’ Under in Twickenham - where they crammed in to watch England seal their place in the final 16.

Others found a novel way to watch the match. About 100 punters were glued to a flat screen television on the roof of a car outside the Turk's Head pub in St Margarets.

Manager Paul Jensen said: “When the power went out there was a great deal of upset until the realisation it was the whole area and then people got their heads together to find a way to watch or listen to it.”

Mr Jensen, who lost £3,000 in takings, said an apology from EDF was not good enough. He added: “This cannot happen again on Sunday [when England play their next match against Germany.”

At the Cabbage Patch pub in Twickenham viewers cheered at first and shouted "free drinks, free drinks" but quickly failed to see the funny side when they realised the black-out had affected the whole area. Traffic lights stopped working and supermarket Waitrose turned confused shoppers away. Even mobile phone networks went down.

Television presenter Declan Donnelly, one half of duo Ant and Dec, was watching the match in a pub in Kew.

He said: "We watched the second half on a TV in an office.

"It's just part of supporting the team against all the odds. It's par for the course really."

An EDF spokesman said: “We recognise this incident will have affected viewing of England’s World Cup match and our engineers worked as quickly and as safely as possible to restore supplies.”

Electricity was reconnected at the water works at about 6.30pm and Thames Water said water supplies were restored to all properties by midnight.

It is not the first time disappointed fans have missed out on an England goal in this World Cup.

ITV was forced to issue a grovelling apology after ITV HD viewers missed Steven Gerrard's goal in the side's first match because of a technical fault.

Did you work out a novel way to keep up with the scoreline? Send us your pictures or comments by calling Gerry Holt on 020 8744 4271 or via email to