80,000 England fans descend on Gelsenkirchen
30 June 2006, GELSENKIRCHEN - Police were bracing Friday for a massive wave of England fans for the quarter-final encounter against Portugal in Gelsenkirchen on Saturday.
30 June 2006
GELSENKIRCHEN - Police were bracing Friday for a massive wave of England fans for the quarter-final encounter against Portugal in Gelsenkirchen on Saturday.
"We expect 80,000 English fans and 20,000 Portuguese supporters," said Peter Honnef, the police officer in charge of match day security.
"We don't anticipate any trouble, but if there is any violence we will take resolute action," he said.
The Gelsenkirchen stadium has a capacity of 53,000, but only 30,000 English fans have tickets for the match. The others will have to watch at public viewing areas around the city.
The biggest of these is at the local racecourse, where 80,000 fans can see the game on two large screens with original English commentary from the BBC.
The city's Fan Mile has ordered extra supplies of beer to cater to the notoriously thirsty English fans.
Based on the experience in Stuttgart, where England played its Round of 16 match against Ecuador, each fan will be consuming an average 8 litres of beer, according to Gelsenkirchen Mayor Frank Baranowski.
Some 550 English fans were taken into protective custody in Stuttgart, following disturbances after consuming large quantities of alcohol.
Nearly all were released without charge, but two appeared in court on Friday and were given suspended sentences of three and five months for attempted assault.
Another six English fans remain in a Stuttgart detention centre waiting for their cases to be heard, including a man who is charged with stabbing an Iraqi in the face.
German police have been stepping up border controls and making spot checks on motorways in order to weed out troublemakers from the vast majority of peaceful supporters.
Some 4,000 known English hooligans were prevented from leaving Britain by having their passports withdrawn for the duration of the World Cup.
Subject: German news