Euro Zone: England fans, keep Gelsenkirchen’s name out of your mouth

German media reacts after a number of England fans had some less than complimentary things to say of their visit to the city

Riot police stand in a street where they arrested several people following an apparent brawl between fans in the city centre prior to the Group C England v Serbia match at Euro 2024. Photograph: Sascha Schuermann/Getty Images

It would be accurate to say that Gelsenkirchen being labelled a “s**thole” by some England fans on the Tweet machine after their visit there for their opening game against Serbia hasn’t gone down tremendously well with sections of the German media.

“Hello English football supporters: we need to talk about Gelsenkirchen,” reads the headline over a piece by Martin Kessler in Rheinische Post in which he suggests that “English fans generally find fault with everything and everyone”. While conceding that the city is struggling economically, he notes that Sheffield and Birmingham “have still not recovered from the loss of their industrial past” either. And then he drags poor old Blackpool, Bolton and Bradford in to it by suggesting they’re “hardly more beautiful than Gelsenkirchen”.

Over on RND’s website, Irene Habich, a native of the city, has her say, listing “the most important sights and cultural attractions in the Ruhr metropolis”. She makes one concession, though. “I admit that the area around the main station is no feast for the eyes. English soccer fans are complaining about this on social media: They would have loved to have had a fight with the Serbian team’s supporters in front of a nicer backdrop, apparently.” Oooh.

Is it coming home?

Spanish paper Marca was left deflated when Serbian psychic Milan Tarot told them who would win Euro 2024. He does, after all, claim to be a descendant of Nostradamus, so he should be handy at this lark.


“All major national teams will do poorly, except England, who will probably win,” he forecast, “I see a great party in England.” And? “Harry Kane will score more than 10 goals.”

England's Harry Kane celebrates scoring against Denmark. Photograph: Javier Soriano/AFP via Getty Images

Now, quit giggling, these things could yet happen, but the website Emerging Europe would have you wondering about Milan’s methods. For example, to assist a client make his dreams come true, he instructed him to “repeat six times the phrase ‘I am Tarzan, lord of the jungle’, before taking two eggs to crack over his head”. Kane is probably trying this in his hotel bedroom as we speak.

From Maradona to Doncaster

It wasn’t quite a case of ‘from hero to zero’ for Jude Bellingham in the eyes of the English press come Friday morning, but it was close enough. After his performances against Serbia, he was likened to “Muhammad Ali or Tiger Woods in their pomp”, Maradona and Zinedine Zidane, among others. Now?

Daily Mail: “Jude Bellingham 4.5. From Roy of the Rovers to Doncaster Rovers.” Cripes.

Quote of the day

“I think we’re struggling both with and without the ball.” – Harry Kane narrows down the problems with England’s Euro 2024 performances thus far.

Number: 56

According to OptaJoe, that’s how many consecutive games in major tournaments, going back 28 years, that a Manchester United player has featured for England … until they met Denmark. Devil-less.

Word of mouth

“Anyone who has a squad like England cannot play like Union Berlin.” – Former German international Christoph Kramer managing to insult a nation and a club in one fell swoop.

“Champions of Europe – you’ll never sing that!” – Danish fans rubbing it in on Thursday evening, as if the England support hadn’t suffered enough.

“I made a comment about Declan Rice that people have got their knickers in a twist about. But for a £100 million player I want to see more than just five-yard sideways and backwards passes.” – Is James McClean backing down from his criticism of Rice? Is he heck.