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Mobile carrier Three UK is getting involved in the World Cup chat by rebranding a handful of stores with three cute lion emojis.

Manchester Arndale, London Islington, Brighton and Portsmouth stores were rebranded with three lion emojis to bring it in line with the England side's nickname the Three Lions. The clever stunt, with deniability, ties the brand to the England team without splurging for an official partnership.

This marks one of the most blatant pieces of World Cup ambush marketing in 2018.

The move was activated with a store opening greeted by Teddy Sheringham, Tony Adams, Ray Parlour and John Barnes. Fans reportedly queued to take selfies with the players and attempt the challenge called the #ThreeWallBall.

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The competition will run from 12 June to 6 July urging fleet-footed fans to see how many times they can flick a ball against a wall – all recorded on their mobiles and shared on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram on the #ThreeWallBall hashtag.

Kat Ward-Smith, director of brand and communications at Three, said: “We wanted to do something fun to show our support for the boys.  We’re proud to bring together such well-known football stars this summer and the #ThreeWallBall challenge, will hopefully bring a smile to supporters’ faces across the country.”

Paul Merson has also given the challenge a go.

The idea was delivered by W Communications. UPDATE: The lions have been updated with crying emojis to signify England's departure from the tournament.