London: England manager Gareth Southgate urged travelling fans to behave themselves when the Three Lions face Germany in Munich tomorrow, saying that their actions could have a negative impact on the team.
The Football Association (FA) are reportedly concerned that the Nations League fixture, seen as England’s first major away game in four years, could trigger clashes between supporters of the two sides.
England’s previous visit to Germany in 2017 resulted in the FA condemning the behaviour of some fans, who were seen making Nazi salutes.
“Staff are working on things detracting from the main part of their job, you are embarrassed when you hear about it, because you know it’s a representation of your country,” Southgate told reporters.
“So we’re always conscious of that, I think we can only give the correct messages, it’s then you’ve got to rely on people behaving themselves.”
England’s game against Italy at Molineux on Saturday will be played without fans as punishment for the crowd trouble that marred the Euro 2020 final between the two teams last July.
“I think we know, because of the landscape at the moment, that the spotlight is going to be on, so we want to be coming away talking about a brilliant night, good football and a stunning atmosphere,” added Southgate.
England’s 1-0 defeat by Hungary in Budapest last week was supposed to be played behind closed doors after the hosts were disciplined for repeated racist fan behaviour, but children, accompanied by an adult, were allowed to attend due to a loophole in the rules.
The Three Lions had the likes of Harry Kane and Declan Rice starting but it was still something of an experimental lineup as Jarrod Bowen and James Justin made their debuts.
Southgate is likely to revert to his strongest available XI for the trip to Bavaria, a first meeting with Germany since a famous 2-0 victory at the last 16 stage of Euro 2020. Raheem Sterling has fought off a bout of illness and is a candidate to return to the team alongside Bukayo Saka and Jack Grealish.
Germany did not pick up any fresh injury concerns during the opening draw with Italy, although Borussia Dortmund talisman Marco Reus was absent from the contest due to illness. The 33-year-old will hope to recover in time to play a part against England. Ilkay Gundogan and Kai Havertz will jump at the opportunity to test themselves against some of their Premier League counterparts.