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Gloating masked Serbian thugs pose with ‘stolen’ England flags ahead of Three Lions clash – amid fears that mob of violent hooligans will spark chaos at the Euros

Masked Serbian hooligans have posed with ‘stolen’ English flags amid fears of violence ahead of tonight’s Euro 2024 match between the two countries in Germany.

Images shared on

Tensions appeared high ahead of tonight’s Group C match between Serbia and Gareth Southgate’s England in the German city of Gelsenkirchen.

England supporters have been filmed in nearby Dusseldorf singing the Second World War-related chant ‘Ten German Bombers’ despite warnings from German police.

But fans of both sides also came together today to condemn the threats of violence hanging over the opening of the 2024 European Championship.

Joyful Serbian thugs appear to display the flags of 'stolen' England fans online

Joyful Serbian thugs appear to display the flags of ‘stolen’ England fans online

The images were posted ahead of tonight's match between England and Serbia in Germany at the 2024 European Championship

The images were posted ahead of tonight's match between England and Serbia in Germany at the 2024 European Championship

The images were posted ahead of tonight’s match between England and Serbia in Germany at the 2024 European Championship

Groups have been seen following both England and Serbia and happily interminglingdrinking beer and belting out football chants.

Yet police in Gelsenkirchen have classified tonight’s Group C match as ‘High Risk’ amid fears that 500 Serbian hooligans from hooligan firms called Headhunters and Gravediggers are planning to ambush Three Lions supporters.

The ‘stolen’ flag photos were shared by accounts, including one called Hooligans.cz Official, but were met with criticism and ridicule in response.

One poster replied: ‘Imagine finding a flag, taking it and then posing with it upside down.’

Still, a Serbian supporter approved, writing: “We are going to lose on the field, but off the field we are winning.”

Other Serbian fans in Germany have downplayed the risks of trouble and told how they arrived in peace, saying: “We are here for football just like you.”

Nikola Markovic, 38, who flew to Germany last night, told MailOnline: ‘Serbian people are not violent as the German police have said and how it has been reported in the media.

‘The match against England is, according to the police here, a match with a very high risk, but I don’t understand why.

‘The ultras don’t follow the national team, they never have. They would rather fight each other than the English, club teams in Serbia hate their local rivals.

Supporters had a great time ahead of the first match for Gareth Southgate's side

Supporters had a great time ahead of the first match for Gareth Southgate's side

Supporters had a great time ahead of the first match for Gareth Southgate’s side

English supporters have gathered at the Heinrich-Konig-Platz in Gelsenkirchen

English supporters have gathered at the Heinrich-Konig-Platz in Gelsenkirchen

English supporters have gathered at the Heinrich-Konig-Platz in Gelsenkirchen

‘Just like you, we came here for football. We want to enjoy watching our country in a major tournament just like everyone else.

“It’s a shame we can’t watch the match with the English fans because we are kept apart in different fan zones. It’s an overreaction, I think.

‘I hope it’s a good match. I think it will be a 1-1 draw tonight.’

Fellow Serbs Igor and Milos, 38, also flew from their home in the city of Valijevo last night.

The pair proudly unfurled a Serbian flag and Igor said: ‘All this talk about Serbian Ultras attacking the English is nonsense – complete nonsense.

‘They don’t follow the national team. The rivalry between the clubs is too strong. Serbian fans are only here to watch the team play and enjoy Germany and the tournament.

‘We had good contact with the English fans in the hotel this morning at breakfast. It’s nice to talk to other football fans from different countries.’

Discussing matters on the pitch, Igor added: ‘England are good, but we are better. I think we will win 1-0 and Mitrovic will score.

‘The people of Serbia have confidence in our team. I think that as the leader in the group we will at least reach the semi-finals.’

Miroslav Romandic, wearing a Serbian shirt, said: ‘I don’t think there will be any problems between the Serbs and the English.

‘We mingled with the English and drank beer with them and it was all very friendly.

‘But I think England will win this match. The most we can hope for is a draw. ‘

His friend Milan Milenivic added: ‘The English defense is weak. We have a chance there.

‘But I would say that today it is about the love of football among all supporters. All this fuss about the ultras fighting with English supporters is wrong.’

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English fans, meanwhile, were equally undeterred by any threat of violence as thousands poured into Gelsenkirchen from their bases across the Ruhr.

Many drank pints of strong beer immediately after breakfast under the watchful eye of the German police, who were visibly but subtly present around bars and at the central station.

England manager Gareth Southgate speaks to reporters yesterday at Arena AufSchalke in Gelsenkirchen, where tonight's match will be played

England manager Gareth Southgate speaks to reporters yesterday at Arena AufSchalke in Gelsenkirchen, where tonight's match will be played

England manager Gareth Southgate speaks to reporters yesterday at Arena AufSchalke in Gelsenkirchen, where tonight’s match will be played

Supporters from both sides have spoken about friendship between groups in Gelsenkirchen

Supporters from both sides have spoken about friendship between groups in Gelsenkirchen

Supporters from both sides have spoken about friendship between groups in Gelsenkirchen

A group of English supporters toast their team's chances in Germany

A group of English supporters toast their team's chances in Germany

A group of English supporters toast their team’s chances in Germany

Alan Tallis, 65, originally from York but who has lived in Germany for 45 years, will be attending the match with German woman Christa.

He said: ‘There is a lot of excitement in Germany about the tournament, the Germans have a lot of confidence in their team.

‘The authorities here are concerned about the threat of violence at this match, given the history of both groups of supporters.

‘There were a lot of Serbian fans having breakfast in my hotel this morning. They looked like ultras, big guys and all dressed in black. But I talked to them and they were friendly enough.

‘Whether they remain friendly a little later remains to be seen… they didn’t look like they were here to play golf.

‘I wouldn’t mess with them, but to be honest they might look scarier than they actually are.

‘Hopefully there will be no provocation from English fans and vice versa. It should just be about football.’

Father and son Mark Webb and Liam Webb spent 17 hours traveling to Germany yesterday after leaving home at 2am.

They took five trains: Bridgwater in Somerset to London Victoria, then the Tube to Kings Cross and St. Pancras to catch the Eurostar to Brussels.

From there it was a train through Belgium to Cologne and then to Gelsenkirchen.

Mark, 48, joked: ‘After all that travelling, we need this beer. This is the first time we’re looking at England so I’m really looking forward to it.

‘So far there has been a brilliant, friendly atmosphere. English fans mingled well with a few Serbians we saw walking past.

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‘I hope this stays this way, nobody wants problems. So far we have felt completely safe.”

Liam, 19, added: ‘Most Serbia and England fans are here to watch football and have fun. We haven’t seen any problems.

English fans in Germany have unveiled a new song dedicated to Manchester City's Phil Foden

English fans in Germany have unveiled a new song dedicated to Manchester City's Phil Foden

English fans in Germany have unveiled a new song dedicated to Manchester City’s Phil Foden

Supporters preparing to watch the Three Lions play Serbia ahead of Group C matches against Denmark and Slovenia put new words to Bruce Springsteen's Dancing In The Dark

Supporters preparing to watch the Three Lions play Serbia ahead of Group C matches against Denmark and Slovenia put new words to Bruce Springsteen's Dancing In The Dark

Supporters preparing to watch the Three Lions play Serbia ahead of Group C matches against Denmark and Slovenia put new words to Bruce Springsteen’s Dancing In The Dark

England's first Euro 2024 match comes two days after the tournament started, with hosts Germany beating Scotland 5-1 in Munich on Friday evening

England's first Euro 2024 match comes two days after the tournament started, with hosts Germany beating Scotland 5-1 in Munich on Friday evening

England’s first Euro 2024 match comes two days after the tournament started, with hosts Germany beating Scotland 5-1 in Munich on Friday evening

“There may be a few who want to spoil the party, but I’m not really concerned that there will be much trouble.”

‘Any flashpoints will be quickly dealt with by the German police.

‘On the pitch it’s a shame Harry Maguire is out because he has been a solid, reliable player at the back for England.

“But I hope our attacking options will give us the edge tonight.”

Robbie Roberts, 61, from Gosport in Hampshire, took a taxi to Gelsenkirchen this morning from a campsite where he and friends Neil Ingram, 55, and 57-year-old Jon Gibbon are staying, 40 miles away, just over the Dutch border.

Cambridge United fan Robbie said: ‘We’ve had a great time so far – there were loads of Scots at the campsite last night so we obviously got them out of the closet after they got hammered to Germany. It was all benign.

‘Gelsenkirchen is now starting to fill up. I think English fans come from all over: Essen, Düsseldorf and Dortmund.

‘It’s only a small place, so it will quickly fill up with people. We’ve seen a few Serbian fans walking past with a beer and so far it’s all been good natured – I hope it stays that way.

‘On the pitch – as long as Southgate gets the tactics right we should win comfortably. I’m going for 3-0, England.’

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