Euro 2024: Fulfilling dreams and finding new friends in fans camp

While the action intensifies on the pitch, the fans are making new friends, sharing drinks and creating a festival atmosphere.
Last Updated : 21 June 2024, 09:45 IST

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Stuttgart: International rivalries have been put to one side in a campsite in Stuttgart as fans from various nations live in motorhomes next to one another and share the common joy of following their team at Euro 2024.

While the action intensifies on the pitch, the fans are making new friends, sharing drinks and creating a festival atmosphere in a unique holiday that could end next week or next month.

"In 1990 I was with some friends in Italy at the World Cup there and it was so funny and I said at that time, okay, I will do it again," Harald Goerz, a Germany fan from Aachen told Reuters outside his rented motor home.

"In that time I met my wife, we have been married for 32 years. And last year we had the idea to start this travelling with the German team around Germany to all their games.

"That was ever my dream, I said to her if any time a new European Championship or World Cup is in Germany, then we will do that."

Harald's wife Martina, sitting beside him in her Germany jersey, said they would make a photo album of their journey across the country that has taken in Munich and Stuttgart so far and then on to Frankfurt next to show their family.

"We want to have a photo album... for our grandchildren to show them: Look. When I tell our daughter about it, she watches it herself, she lives in Cologne, and she will say: 'That's amazing, it's a shame I couldn't come with you'. She is crazy about football too."

Germany have two wins from their opening two matches, the second a 2-0 victory over Hungary at the Stuttgart Arena, which is a five minute walk from the campsite.

However, there was no animosity from Hungarian fans also were camping out.

"It's amazing. That's the word... after the game we came here and we just sit in the 'pub' and drink with the Scottish fans and they are the best," Hungary fan Tamas Szucs said, camping with his friend Zsolt Kiraly who he met five years ago and now travels with for international matches.

"We had some German fans here, we said to them well done, good job.

"Everyone is friendly," he added.

The Scottish fans are proving to be popular at this tournament with thousands having made the journey. At the Stuttgart campsite, groups made their way separately on the long journey from Scotland but are already one big family.

"We left Glasgow 10 days ago and drove 24 hours solid to get here. And the three guys here, they fell right out the bus. They didn't stop drinking for 24 hours. 80 cans of beer in 24 hours," Scotland fan John Gilmour said as his fellow fans cheered and raised fresh bottles of beer.

Scotland were part of the last Euros but that one had COVID restrictions, so for some fans it has been their first real chance to see their team at a European Championship since 1996.

"This was my dream," said Tony, a Scotland fan who lives in Blackpool, England.

"When I was younger I can remember the football but I was too busy with children. So this time was my dream. I wasn't missing it. And I brought my son. He was born during Euro 96, so I managed to get him here as well."

There will be more Scottish arrivals in Stuttgart ahead of their crucial Group A match against Hungary on Sunday, with both teams needing a win to be in with a shout of reaching the next stage.

The chant of "No Scotland, no party" will be heard right across the campsite and the city this weekend.

Published 21 June 2024, 09:45 IST

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