Flags, booze and booing: fans embrace doing what they love at Euro 2024 | Paul MacInnes

England and Serbia supporters take turns whistling at anthems while Phil Foden gets his own Springsteen tribute

It was all too easy to lose count of how many flags there were: 50? 60? 100, or more? Leicester, Coventry, “our mate Jimmy Lockett”, Marwood Whites, Courthouse Reds, Oulton Broad and Hereford. It seems there was no part of England that hadn’t had a run on its polyester flags of St George. And for that matter Belgrade might be short on flags too – there was barely an inch of Gelsenkirchen hoarding that wasn’t marked out as territory by fans of either Serbia or England.

With fingers crossed and barring any late-night disorder, the sole first‑round match to have been designated as “high risk” by Uefa passed without real trouble or incident. But it did confirm what had already been visible across the Ruhr valley these past few days; that the international football tournament is back and football fandom with it.

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