A top Eurocrat claimed yesterday that the Euro 2020 semi-finals and final should not be held at Wembley amid fears of the Delta variant.
EU Commissioner Margaritis Schinas called on Uefa to consider moving the matches elsewhere. The Government said last week that the crowd capacity will be raised to more than 60,000, up from 22,500 in the group games.
Mr Schinas said: ‘I want to share my doubts about the possibility of organising the final and the semi-finals at Wembley, in a packed stadium, at a time that the United Kingdom itself is limiting its citizens’ travel to the European Union. I think Uefa needs to carefully analyse this decision.’
EU Commissioner Margaritis Schinas (pictured) said Euro 2020 finals should not be held at Wembley amid Delta variant fears and called on Uefa to consider moving matches elsewhere
But the Greek official admitted the EU had no power to interfere in the tournament’s schedule and said no talks had been held with football’s European governing body, telling MEPs: ‘Those decisions are taken by Uefa.’
Uefa has already refused a call from Italian premier Mario Draghi to move the final abroad to avoid Covid in England.
British restrictions mean all EU regions apart from the Balearic Islands and Malta are on an amber list requiring UK visitors to test and quarantine on their return.
Lions’ date with destiny: 25million people are set to watch the England-Germany clash… 25 years after Gareth Southgate’s missed penalty
By Arthur Martin for the Daily Mail
Fan parks across the country sold out days ago, while pubs, bars and restaurants have seen a rush of bookings for the big game.
A TV audience of about 25million is expected, with millions of workers planning to clock-off early today to make the 5pm kick-off.
England’s Euro 2020 clash with Germany on Tuesday is set to spark the biggest party since lockdown restrictions were eased. Pictured: England team at Wembley Stadium on June 22
From Newcastle to Newquay, 10million pints are expected to be downed as supporters roar on the Three Lions.
The showdown carries echoes of Euro 96, when current England manager Gareth Southgate missed a penalty in the semi-final – also held at Wembley – to send the Germans through.
Yesterday Southgate said the match is a chance for his team ‘to make some history’ and extinguish some of the pain of the past.
The showdown carries echoes of Euro 96, when current England manager Gareth Southgate missed a penalty in the semi-final (pictured) to send the Germans through
He admitted that Germany ‘won’t fear coming to Wembley’, adding: ‘We’ll have to play at our very best. We’ve got to be tactically well prepared, we’ve got to be physically well prepared and psychologically well prepared.
‘It’s a great opportunity for this team to make some history and give people memories of England-Germany fixtures for the future, that are a little different to some of the ones they’ve been flooded with over the last few days which mean absolutely nothing to the [players] because they weren’t born.’
Some 45,000 fans will be at Wembley for the clash – double the amount allowed in for England’s previous game against the Czech Republic.
Some 45,000 fans will be at Wembley for the clash with around 2,000 German fans who live in the UK are expected to attend. Pictured: Starting line up of German team
Hundreds of touts have posted messages on social media platforms offering tickets for the match for up to £4,000 – more than 90 times their original price.
Most of the fans inside Wembley are expected to be English, since German supporters have not travelled from their homeland because of quarantine rules.
Around 2,000 German fans who live in the UK are expected to attend, however.
The victors will play in the quarter-finals on Saturday night in Rome. They will face the winners of tonight’s match between Sweden and Ukraine.
The sweetheart squad cheering on England players since their teens: Euros WAGS supporting football stars at showpiece tournament have been with the players since childhood
By Alison Boshoff for the Daily Mail
After a fairly average performance in the group stage, the England squad probably haven’t been feeling the love these past weeks. But as they prepare to face Germany this afternoon, they do have one group of fans who support them through thick and thin — their WAGs.
For unlike previous England squads — such as the notorious 2006 World Cup crew, whose model-heavy contingent of wives and girlfriends included Victoria Beckham and Cheryl Cole — many of the current squad are their childhood sweethearts.
Led by captain HARRY KANE — married to his best friend from school — there are eight players either married to or in long-term relationships with women they started dating as teenagers.
Kane, 27, has known his wife, Kate Goodland, with whom he has three children, since they were both young football fans growing up in East London.
Led by captain HARRY KANE (pictured left) — married to his best friend from school — there are eight players either married to or in long-term relationships with women they started dating as teenagers
Kane was famously pictured with his football-mad friend, Kate, in 2005, when the pair, who were both 11, met their hero and fellow East Ender David Beckham at the launch of his football academy
He was famously pictured with his football-mad friend, Kate, in 2005, when the pair, who were both 11, met their hero and fellow East Ender David Beckham at the launch of his football academy.
Seven years after that photo was taken, Harry and Kate began dating, and they married in 2019.
They have two daughters, Ivy and Vivienne, and a son, Louis, and live in Essex. Kate, also 27, has a degree in sports science and works as a fitness instructor.
‘When I was in school she was my friend,’ Kane says. ‘We always spoke, but just got closer and closer and it went from there. She’s seen my whole career. Of course she’s finding it a little crazy.’
There was an awkward moment in 2017 when the Tottenham striker listed his hat-tricks and his Golden Boot award as the greatest achievements. In response, she tweeted: ‘First child? Engagement?’ He replied: ‘Of course they were great as well babe.’ Oops.
Pandemic wedding: Jordan Pickford and Megan Davison wed after 11 years together
In a similar vein, goalkeeper JORDAN PICKFORD took his wife Megan Davison out on their first date to the cinema while he was a pupil at St Robert of Newminster Catholic School in their native Washington, Tyne and Wear.
Pickford was 16 and she was 14 — and they have been together ever since.
Megan, now 25, graduated from university in 2019. She had son, Arlo, in February that year, and the couple were married in March 2020 at a register office in Crewe, having had to postpone their lavish Maldives nuptials due to the pandemic.
The ceremony was distinctly understated, with Pickford, 27, wearing a baseball cap and ripped jeans, while the bride wore Givenchy studded boots and carried a Dior handbag.
Winger and general golden boy Jack Grealish, 25, recently reconciled with his childhood sweetheart Sasha Attwood, also 25, after a brief split (pictured: childhood sweethearts, Jack and Sasha)
The model was seen cheering him on at an England match at Wembley earlier this month. They met while pupils at St Peter’s Roman Catholic Secondary School in Solihull
Young love: Phil Foden and Rebecca Cooke are expecting their second child this summer
Happy family: Harry Maguire, Fern Hawkins and daughter Lillie
PS: the ones who didn’t make it to extra-time …
Sadly, not all the squad’s childhood relationships have survived.
MARCUS RASHFORD, 23, had been with his high school sweetheart Lucia Loi for eight years, but they broke up last month, reportedly as the result of tensions which had come to the fore during lockdown.
Break-up: Rashford and Lucia Loi
A source said they continue to have ‘mutual love and respect’ and added: ‘There is a continued dialogue with the hope of a reconciliation in the future.’
However, not every member of the England squad has experienced such an amicable end to their relationship.
Defender JOHN STONES split from his high-school sweetheart Millie Savage in 2016 after he had an affair with events organiser Jessica Peaty. They reunited, and Stones had a tattoo of Millie’s face on his arm to prove his commitment.
But after having a daughter in 2017, they broke up for good a year later after Stones allegedly told her: ‘I’m not happy. I want my freedom.’ He’s now dating beautician Olivia Naylor, 30.
Split: John Stones and Millie Savage
An Instagram addict with platinum hair and a love of shopping, Megan has assumed a ‘mother hen’ status with the other wives. Ahead of the opening game against Croatia, she arranged a pre-match party for them (pictures from which she shared on Instagram, of course.)
She’s particularly friendly with Fern Hawkins, HARRY MAGUIRE’s fiancee. Though Harry, 28, and Fern weren’t schoolmates, they met when he was just 18 and part of Sheffield United’s youth team.
Fern has a first-class degree in science and physiotherapy, and graduated in 2017. The couple have been engaged since 2018 and share daughters Lillie Saint, who turned two in April, and Piper Rose, who was born in May 2020.
Winger and general golden boy JACK GREALISH, 25, recently reconciled with his childhood sweetheart Sasha Attwood, also 25, after a brief split.
The model was seen cheering him on at an England match at Wembley earlier this month. They met while pupils at St Peter’s Roman Catholic Secondary School in Solihull.
PHIL FODEN, 21, one of the youngest members of the team, met his girlfriend Rebecca Cooke when they were teenagers, and she gave birth to baby Ronnie when they were both 18.
The couple live in a £3.25 million mansion in Prestbury, Cheshire, and Rebecca is expecting their second child, a girl, in the late summer.
Meanwhile, midfielder and rising star KALVIN PHILLIPS, 25, has been dating Ashleigh Behan since he was 17. The Leeds University graduate now works as a professional make-up artist.
The squad’s taste for long-term relationships should serve them well, say sports psychologists. Andy Barton, a performance coach with The Sporting Mind, who has worked with England and Premier League players, said: ‘It is grounding if you’re in a relationship from before you were famous because your partner sees you as the player and not a superstar.
‘There aren’t competing egos going on either. If you have someone who sees you as you and tells you when you’re being an idiot, but is very supportive and also you trust them because you’ve always been with them, then that can only be a good thing.’
Forward RAHEEM STERLING, 26, has been with fiancee Paige Milian since he was a teenager, and they have a four-year-old son, Thiago. Sterling also has a nine-year-old daughter, Melody Rose, from a previous relationship.
Meanwhile, right-back KYLE WALKER, 31, is engaged to Annie Kilner, 28, with whom he has three sons — Riaan, Reign and Roman — after an extraordinary 12-year romance, which has seen him fathering a child by another woman.
The couple split in 2019 after she discovered he had been unfaithful to her with Laura Lou Brown, 31, who has appeared on reality TV show Ex On The Beach.
He then went on to father a son, Kairo, last April with model and social media personality Lauryn Goodman.
By then, he and Annie were an item again, and he proposed last summer.
Pitch perfect: Kalvin Phillips has dated graduate Ashleigh Behan for eight years
Star couple: Raheem Sterling and fiancee Paige Milian
Rollercoaster romance: Kyle Walker with Annie Kilner, his fiancee and the mum of three of his sons