Thu. Jul 25th, 2024
alert-–-england-fans-excitement-reaches-fever-pitch-ahead-of-the-three-lions’-crunch-euro-2024-semi-final-with-the-netherlands-tonight-after-learning-spain-will-be-their-opponents-if-they-make-it-throughAlert – England fans excitement reaches fever pitch ahead of the Three Lions’ crunch Euro 2024 semi-final with the Netherlands tonight after learning Spain will be their opponents if they make it through

Excitement is reaching fever pitch ahead of England’s crunch Euro 2024 semi-final against the Netherlands as the nation dares to dream the Three Lions could go all the way.

Around 40,000 members of the Barmy Army are set to be in Dortmund for tonight’s match to soak in the atmosphere, even though only a small number will have been able to get tickets for the must-see event.

They have been joined by 100,000 Dutch fans, many of whom have made the relatively short journey from their home nation to the west German city in a bid to turn the streets orange.

It means England fans will be outnumbered for the first time at this year’s Euros, but that, along with the stuttering nature of their team’s progress in the tournament, hasn’t stopped them bringing a party atmosphere to their travels.

Despite having to contend with extortionate prices for tickets, accommodation and travel, many Three Lions supporters who are in Germany say it is worth it to cheer on Gareth Southgate’s team in their bid for glory.

Many in Dortmund were in a good mood yesterday, with chants of ‘It’s coming home’ echoing into the night sky.

England fanatics Andy and Kirsty, who are there for the match, said it would be ‘unbelievable’ if England went all the way.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast, Andy said: ‘It’s my 16th tournament and it’s a momentous tournament because they always are. We’ll see what happens, we’re feeling relatively positive. I’m feeling zen-like, we’re ready. 

‘If we win it that’s my retirement from international football as a fan. I feel like we could be on a winning streak of semi-finals after so many disappointments. 

‘We won the last semi-final against Denmark at Wembley (at Euro 2020), I feel like it’s an even chance tonight.’

Kirsty added: ‘[I’m feeling] semi-confident, I’ve got to say. I’m really hoping to see them coming out fighting tonight. It’s a big, strong, physical side we’re against in the Netherlands but I’m ever hopeful. 

‘Could you imagine if we won?! Unbelievable.’

Tanya, who has been in Germany to follow the team, told Good Morning Britain today that she believed football could be coming home. 

She said: ‘[I’ve been here] since the third group game. It’s been amazing, we’re having a fantastic time and the best is yet to come.’  

Many of the travelling contingent have arrived in Dortmund over the last couple of days, with plenty basking in the glorious sunshine and warm temperatures yesterday.

Among those was the Fairbank family, made up of father Scott, mother Sam and their 13-year-old daughter Freya, who had been due to return home on Sunday but decided to extend their stay. 

Scott, 43, from Sheffield, said the decision to stay on for the ‘once in a lifetime’ match came at a price – two rooms for two nights in Dortmund has cost them £1,600.

‘They’ve ripped our eyes out with the price of those rooms’, he said. ‘And the accommodation is somewhat basic – but we fell in love with the whole experience around the Switzerland game’.

With a wry smile, Scott said the family drove out on Friday – having told Freya’s school that she had ‘German measles’.

But he added: ‘When we decided to stay out we had to phone up the school again on Monday and come clean.’

Sam, who turned 41 yesterday, added: ‘We came out earlier on for the group game against Slovenia. The match was disappointing but we had the best time in Cologne.

‘After Switzerland we were absolutely buzzing. We’ve loved our time in Germany, yet it’s somewhere we would’ve probably never thought to travel to if it wasn’t for the Euros.’

Brothers Denny and Ronnie Lovett from Dartford, Kent, also moved on to Dortmund from Dusseldorf, but saved cash by staying in an AirBnB outside the city for just £50 per night.

Denny, 22, an estate agent, added: ‘We’ve already booked accommodation in Berlin (for the final) – we’re confident. You’ve got to back the team. I like it out here and don’t want to go home, but I’ll have to have a conversation with the boss if we win against the Dutch.’

It’s not just England fans in Dortmund, with nearly 100,000 Dutch supporters expected to invade the area, which lies just an hour from the border with the Netherlands. 

On the next table, Dutch students Yan Doldersam, 25, and Lucas Kalverla, 23, drove 90 minutes from their home town of Emmen. They were enjoying a beer in the central square in Dortmund with countryman Goleos Sepanial, 43 who lives in the city.

Yan said: ‘We have had a similar tournament to England – the fans expected a lot more from our team than they have showed so far. I think tomorrow they will show it!’

In the border town of Aalten, many of its 27,000 residents have taken advantage of the close proximity of the matches and the lack of border restrictions to follow Ronald Koemen’s Dutch team throughout the tournament. 

Dutch restaurant manager Loes Oonk, who has decorated the front of her home with a giant Dutch flag with the lion emblem, will make the 60-minute journey over the border with seven friends for today’s match in a mini bus.

She said: ‘It is very easy for us to reach Dortmund, but not so easy for the English supporters. I think it will give our team an advantage to have so many people in orange shirts in the stadium to support them.

‘Maybe the English will have to work and will not be able to come in so many large numbers because of their jobs, but we will be able to come home the same evening from Germany.’

‘The match is the talk of Holland. We are also excited and really looking forward to it. Everyone is talking about it in this town too and getting their flags and orange shirts ready. Football is very important in the Netherlands, just like it is in England.’

Meanwhile, back at home 28million viewers are expected to watch the game on IITV and ITVX streaming, beating the record for a match aired on a single channel. 

England’s Euro 2020 semi-final against Denmark attracted 27.6million on the same channel. Finals are shown on both BBC and ITV.

Ahead of the match England boss Southgate said his team has the chance to make history tonight.  

He said: ‘We’ve listened to the challenges over the years and used them as motivation to break new ground. 

‘We’ve never been to a final outside our own shores. These are opportunities to make a difference and that’s how we have to look at it. We don’t want to be burdened by what’s happened before. 

‘We have got to use this opportunity to change history as a motivation, and that’s how the players see it. It’s about their moment now, nothing that’s gone on in the past. None of that is their fault or their concern.’ 

Amid criticism of England’s performances and Southgate’s tactics throughout the Euros, the manager insisted team spirit was stronger than ever. 

‘This group of players have really come together well over the last three or four weeks,’ he said. 

‘We’ve spoken about (playing with fear). When you sense that feeling, you need to confront it. It’s no use hoping it will go away.

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