An England fan who lives in Europe has promised to make “an extra effort to lift the noise” when he attends the Three Lions’ Euro 2020 quarter-final in Rome on Saturday.
Italy’s Covid-19 restrictions mean that most England fans will struggle to get to the showdown with Ukraine, with people arriving from the UK required to isolate for five days.
However, for those already living in Europe, Rome is reachable.
Joel Phillips, 29, is originally from Doncaster but has been living in Hamburg, Germany, for more than three years.
The musician said he was the only Englishman in the pub when he watched Gareth Southgate’s men beat Germany, and decided to look into tickets when he realised many England fans would be unable to travel to the Italian capital.
“I heard about the English fans not being able to get over so had a look on the Uefa website and they had tickets available, so I just bought one immediately and I’m working the rest out as I go along!” he told the PA news agency.
“Figured I needed to do my bit and roar the boys on as the Barmy Army couldn’t travel.
“I’m flying out (Friday) evening. I think there’s a massive expat community in Europe… so I think it will still be pumping.
“You can go anywhere on Earth and still find some pals to ‘Vindaloo’ along with! I’ll be making an extra effort to lift the noise!”
Fans unable to attend the quarter-final have advertised their tickets for sale on social media.
Student Jack Francis, 20, from Southampton, plans to travel to Rome from France, and secured his ticket on Twitter for £145.
“Hearing Brits coming from the UK would struggle to get into Italy, I knew there would be a chance that a lot of people would be trying to flog their tickets,” he told PA.
“(I) contacted a nice gent on Twitter, within five minutes I sent him the money and he transferred me the ticket.
“The guy just wanted to cover the ticket, travel and hotel cost which I think was totally acceptable.”
The Southampton fan said he had planned to travel to nine games in five countries for the tournament, but had his ticket money refunded in April due to the pandemic.
“If all goes to plan, (this) would be worth replacing those nine games!” he said.
The Embassy of Italy in London said that only travellers who can prove they arrived in Italy six days previously, had gone through fives days of quarantine and had a negative post-isolation Covid test will be allowed into the stadium.
Its statement added that even travellers who are not required to quarantine – such as those passing through Italy for less than 36 hours or for brief work visits – will not be allowed entry to the Stadio Olimpico.
It added: “Anyone who is found to be failing to observe quarantine will be punished as laid down by the law.
“Fans based in the UK should therefore not travel to Italy to attend the match on Saturday at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.”
The World Health Organisation Europe has reiterated the importance of monitoring movements at mass gatherings such as Euro 2020 matches.
“We need to look much beyond just the stadia themselves,” said Catherine Smallwood, the WHO’s senior emergency officer.
“What we need to look at is around the stadia, how are people getting there, are they travelling in large crowded convoys of buses?
“What’s happening when they leave the stadiums? Are they going into crowded bars and pubs to watch the matches? And we’ve said should this mixing happen, there will be cases.”
German interior minister Horst Seehofer meanwhile said it was “absolutely irresponsible” of European football’s governing body to allow 40,000 fans to watch England take on Germany at London’s Wembley Stadium.