Danish family assaulted by England fans after Euro 2020 semi-final

Denmark supporters have reported incidents of intimidation and violence by some England fans

Lamiat Sabin
Saturday 10 July 2021 00:04
<p>A Denmark fan surveys the scene before the semi-final match started at Wembley</p>

A Denmark fan surveys the scene before the semi-final match started at Wembley

A family of Denmark supporters say they were assaulted while travelling home from the team’s Euro 2020 semi-final defeat to England at Wembley.

Eva Greene, who is Danish, said she and her American husband Lane, and their nine-year-old child Henry – were surrounded by around dozen England fans during an incident on a bus in Lordship Lane, Dulwich, south London, as they were on their way home on Wednesday evening.

Ms Greene, who was sat with her family on the lower deck of the bus, said they were confronted at about 11.50pm after a group of fans noticed through the windows that they were wearing Denmark t-shirts.

The group had splintered off from up to 100 football fans whose celebrations for England’s 2-1 win were blocking the road. Ms Greene, a digital communications officer for a law firm, had described the incident as “like a zombie movie”.

Her husband, a journalist and author, said he was punched in the stomach and that the attack had left him “furious”, adding: “My wife was admirably steely ... And my son’s fear was real but thankfully brief.”

In describing the incident, he said he and his wife had congratulated the fans for England’s win in a bid to calm them down.

“This drove what I can only call a mob into a frenzy that will depress me far more than the runt who came up and punched me when I couldn’t see him,” Mr Greene said.

“Forget the punch; I’ve been hit a lot harder in boxing. It was just a mass of humanity’s worst that I wish I could forget. I’ve loved so much about this country. I leave in 3 weeks and this’ll be one of my last memories. It’s a shame.”

One of the dozen people who blocked the road was wearing a foam pointer finger and “poked it into [his wife’s] breasts”, he added.

The Metropolitan Police told The Independent that it is investigating an allegation of an assault on Lordship Lane, and that the victim “did not sustain any lasting injuries”.

Ms Greene urged the England team to put out a public warning against violence and intimidation before the team’s game against Italy in the final on Sunday.

A 72-year-old Danish woman, who has lived in the UK for more than 25 years, said she went to Wednesday’s game “proudly wearing my Danish clap-hat and small flag to wave.”

She told The Independent that was shocked by the booing when the Danish anthem played. She said that England supporters shouted at her to stop waving her flag and that another threatened her to stop cheering.

The woman, who wanted to remain anonymous, added: “Several other fans did tell off the horrible ones and put their arm around me as protection.”

Birgitte Surtees told The Independent that she went to the match with her English husband and their son. She said that their passports were not checked to match their names to those on the tickets, their bags were not checked, and that there were 30 England supporters sitting in the area reserved for Denmark fans.

She said: “During the game I had a English supporter shouting in my ear how s*** Denmark was, how s*** I was and that I was a whore... The atmosphere was extremely aggressive and my husband was spat on when England scored.

“I saw bottles being thrown from some of the other stands down on the Danish spectators. I spent 110 minutes constantly on the edge worried something would kick off and trying to make sure my son was safe.”

Ms Surtees said that the family took off their Denmark football t-shirts when the game finished so that they would not be targeted.

She added: “I believe it’s the host nation’s and Uefa’s responsibility to make sure that the fans are separated and kept safe... I hope the organisation for Sunday’s game at Wembley will be better otherwise I fear for the Italians’ safety.”

England football fans celebrate in the streets surrounding Piccadilly and Leicester Square

However, Mette Tingey, a director in translation services who has an English husband and has lived in England for 27 years, said that “every single” England supporter she, son James, 22, and daugher Mia, 20, met was “friendly and positive”.

She said England supporters wanted to shake hands and offer their commiserations to them as soon as the game finished with a 2-1 win to England.

Ms Tingey added: “On the way home we went into an Indian restaurant in King’s Cross and we were the only Denmark supporters there. All the England fans was kind to us and wanted to talk to us about the football. There was nothing nasty.

“We were also on the Tube surrounded by England supporters, who were happy and gave us a bit of friendly banter.”

She said that troublemakers who made other fans’ experiences a misery were “clearly bang out of order” but that reports focusing solely on their actions “makes it sound like all England supporters are hooligans – when they are clearly not.”

Based on her experiences, she said she believes that “football can really bring people together.”