A LITTLE girl scored a place on a World Cup advertising campaign at her very first audition.

Eight-year-old Darcey Whittingdon was chosen to take part in the Lidl Dream Big campaign which features kids brought in to “drill” the England football team.

Darcey, who attends Stanford-le-Hope Primary School, signed up to the Allstarz Casting Agency in October.

Mel Carnaby, owner of the Billericay-based agency, said: “It’s wonderful for such a young child. Hundreds of children went for the audition and she was one of those picked.”

Proud dad Michael Whittingdon, 32, of Southend Road, Stanford-le-Hope said: “It was a big achievement. She’s much more interested in football now. We’re extremely proud of her.”

Elsewhere in south Essex, the Rochford community is getting behind the football team ahead of the semi-final tonight by putting flags up across the town.

The Rochford community has rallied together to get behind the England football team ahead of their semi-final appearance in this year’s World Cup.

Mick Lindores, 42, who was helped by his wife Sarah, of Ashingdon Road, said: “It was after England beat Sweden and then we saw the flags in Eastwood, we just decided to take it upon ourselves to get them put up in Rochford as well.

“I put up a post on social media asking for a few donations to pay for the flags and within half-an-hour I had about £70 so we were able to get about 285. It’s fantastic to see the community come together like this.”

Hockley residents also got into the spirit. Simon Harris said: “I plastered a load of magnetic flags all over Hockley and posted on Facebook for people to come and help themselves, as long as they took a photo of where it ended up.”

He also handed out 100 car flags and put up 25 large flags across the town, with help from friends.

In Great Burstead, Burstead Bears Day Nursery celebrated with a football-themed day.

Children had a penalty shoot-out, football training classes, made World Cup flags and had a picnic.

Essex Police has warned fans to act responsibly ahead of the game.

Assistant Chief Constable Pippa Mills said: “We want people to go out in good spirits and full of optimism that England can reach a first World Cup final since 1966.

"However, we will not tolerate any unnecessary and senseless behaviour that disrupts our communities and ruins things for law abiding fans. I would also continue to urge businesses to play their part.”