‘It’s hard to predict what will happen’: police wait anxiously as new breed of England fans descends on Euros

The Serbia game has been labelled high risk amid fears of violence – but many say English hooliganism is in the past

For an England fan in the west German city of Gelsenkirchen ­requiring a Euro 2024 match guide or a free Panini sticker book, Friedrich Schellhase, 30, is the go-to man. From a trestle table at the front of his small white marquee on the city’s central Heinrich König Platz, Schellhase is handing out a host of freebie pamphlets and Uefa-branded pens this weekend.

He is also watching. A social worker whose speciality is helping the hardcore “ultra” fans of the Bundesliga club Schalke, Schellhase is one of a small army of observers in the city tasked by local authorities with sounding the alarm at the first sign of trouble before England’s game against Serbia on Sunday evening.

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