Gareth Southgate fears England will be “embarrassed” if traveling fans cause trouble in Tuesday’s UEFA Nations League game with Germany.
Thousands of traveling England supporters arrive in Munich on Monday for the first major outing to be played in front of a packed crowd, after the pandemic, and Southgate warned that a “spotlight” will come upon them after previous disarray, including at the Euro 2020 final.
In his call for calm, the England manager spoke specifically about the negative effect fan misconduct has on his players just before a match. “It definitely has an impact,” he says.
Additional spotters and even Wembley stewards will be flown in to support the Munich police as a steel ring of security plan goes into effect. The last time England played in Germany, in 2017, ugly scenes were cited as a particular low by the Football Association ahead of Tuesday’s Nations League game.
Southgate challenged fans to build on Britain’s international reputation after successful celebrations over the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee weekend.
“You’re ashamed to hear about it [the trouble]because you know it’s a representation of your country, in the same way that there’s been a brilliant display of that around the world in recent days,” he added.
“So we’re always aware of that. I think we can only give the right messages – then you have to trust that people behave.”
England have been allocated 3,466 tickets, but it is likely that many other fans have bought tickets in the home areas of the 70,000 seat Allianz Arena.
Ahead of the game, 880 known troublemakers gave up their passports and 1,122 bans are in effect this week. Southgate said: “I think at this point because of the scenery we know the spotlight will be on, so we all want to talk about a brilliant evening and talk about good football and a stunning atmosphere. We don’t’ We don’t have that control – we can only ask that that’s what our supporters deliver.”
‘We want our fans to be respectful in another country’
England will continue to play some fringe players on Tuesday as they try to bounce back from a shocking 1-0 defeat in Hungary.
Crowd behavior was also a topic of conversation in Budapest after schoolchildren who let in the supposedly “behind closed doors” fixture booed players for kneeling.
After confronting Germany, it’s England’s turn to serve a stadium penalty – following the chaos of last year’s Wembley Euro finals – as they host Italy in a largely empty Molineux stadium.
With a second game behind closed doors suspended for two years, the FA is desperate for a repeat of the embarrassing scenes when England traveled to Dortmund in 2017 and sang anti-German war songs throughout the game.
No alcohol is served in the ground and 12 Wembley stewards make the journey to Munich, along with six dedicated spotters, to assist the German authorities and police. The FA has received interest from more than 6,000 fans to buy tickets for the game against Germany, but it is unclear how many supporters in total will travel. Midfielder Kalvin Phillips joined Southgate last night to urge fans to behave.
“There will always be problems, but we want our fans to go there and be respectful to Munich and respectful in another country,” he said.
“We would expect the same in return. When Germany came to our country, you know, it was very respectful. The fans support us well and if they behave well and behave like real fans, which they always do, I don’t think they issue.”