THE NOTEBOOK: Phil Foden song becomes a favourite on the terraces, thirsty fans are forced to shell out extortionate prices for low-strength beer, and former England boss Fabio Capello attends in high company

  • ‘Phil Foden’s on fire – he’ll be playing the Germans off the park’ is a hit with fans
  • England fans were also treated to the luxury of free toilets in the train station 
  • LISTEN to It’s All Kicking Off! How Southgate made it enjoyable to play for England again 

England held their nerve and rode our waves of late pressure to open their Euro 2024 account with a 1-0 win over Serbia. 

Jude Bellingham provided the crucial moment when he rose to head in Bukayo Saka’s cross from the right after 13 minutes. 

It was no vintage performance from England – no thrashing like Germany or Spain have already inflicted – but it was a promising start.

Crucially, England take three points back to their Blankenhain training camp after their first game – something many Three Lions sides have failed to do. 

Mail Sport’s Mike Keegan was at the game in Gelsenkirchen to bring you the insider details. 

Fans at the ground had to fork out seven euros for a low-strength beer – and an extra three for a reusable cup (pictured at the fan zone in Frankfurt)

As if paying seven euros for 2.8 per cent low-strength beer was not bad enough, with this ‘high risk’ match the only one in the tournament subject to alcohol restrictions, those who fancied a drink faced the prospect of having to shell out an extra three euros for a reusable cup.

The new song for Phil Foden has rapidly become a terrace favourite. Echoing out from the 40,000 England fans present from the start and to the tune of Bruce Springsteen’s Dancing in the Dark: ‘Phil Foden’s on fire – he’ll be playing the Germans off the park.’

The usual capacity of the Veltins Arena is north of 62,000. However, for last night’s game it was dropped to 50,000 – with large standing areas turned into seated sections.

Trouble flared in Gelsenkirchen ahead of the game when a bar hosting Serbia supporters was attacked by a group of thugs throwing missiles. Seven arrests were made, with police saying all those held were Serbian. UK Police were on Sunday night sifting through CCTV to identify if any known hooligans were involved.

The new song for Phil Foden has become a terrace favourite, with 40,000 singing his name

Former England manager Fabio Capello was a guest of UEFA and joined by high-profile figures

Former England manager Fabio Capello was a guest of UEFA and joined by high-profile figures

Former England manager Fabio Capello was in the VIP section of the stadium. The Italian was a guest of UEFA and was joined by general secretary Theodore Theodoris and Tomislav Nikolic, former president of Serbia.

Concerns over a booze ban in the centre of Gelsenkirchen proved to be misguided. All bars and cafes were happy so sell normal strength ale and cash in on the influx of thousands of thirsty England fans.

England supporters were met by a familiar face at Gelsenkirchen station, with former government sport minister Dame Tracey Crouch among those handing out information and leaflets. 

Crouch, who has served as MP for Chatham and Aylesford since 2010, announced she was standing down in February. A keen football fan, she was with a team from the Football Supporters Association, who also managed to arrange for the toilets in the station to be free of charge, so those who wished to do so could spend a penny without having to spend a penny.