England fans in scramble to reach Berlin for final

by Pelican Press
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England fans in scramble to reach Berlin for final

15 minutes ago

By Ido Vock, Ruth Comerford, BBC News

shutterstock England supporters celebrate their team's victoryshutterstock

England supporters celebrate their team’s victory

England’s Euro 2024 success has prompted a rush of fans attempting to make the last-minute journey to Berlin for the final against Spain on Sunday.

But with prices having increased dramatically after the semi-final and many attempting to get tickets, the task for fans determined to get to Germany is anything but simple.

Reuters Harry Kane celebrates with Ollie Watkins after winning the matchReuters

Harry Kane celebrates with Ollie Watkins after winning the match

Tickets

The first hurdle for those hoping to watch Sunday’s match in person is securing a ticket. The game is sold out on Uefa’s website. The FA’s allocation of tickets, available only to England Supporters Travel Club members who have attended games abroad and earned caps or loyalty points, goes on sale on Friday after a ballot.

Fans desperate to see the final live are being warned that tickets bought from unauthorised third parties may be cancelled. Tickets are being resold via some agencies from £1,300 for “cheap” seats, while VIP packages are going for £67,000. But Uefa says tickets purchased through secondary markets may be “fraudulent”.

“Tickets purchased from unauthorised third parties, websites or agencies, as well as on social media sites, or from touts may be cancelled by UEFA at any time and fans are likely to be refused entry or be ejected from the stadium,” Uefa states on its website.

If you can’t get into the stadium but are in Berlin, you could head to the official Uefa fan zones, which are by the parliament and the Brandenburg Gate in the centre of the city.

Large screens will be broadcasting the match, and no tickets are required.

Flightsfootball and plane banner

Next is the not-insignificant task of getting to Berlin. The usual option would be a two-hour flight from the UK, but the cost rose dramatically following England’s win in the semi-final.

A KLM flight from Manchester to Berlin Brandenburg via Amsterdam on 13 July was listed at £954 on Thursday – compared to £223 a week later.

Some options remained relatively affordable, such as a Scandinavian Airlines flight from Heathrow to Berlin via Copenhagen, listed at £268.

England fan Stephen said flights to Germany were too expensive, so instead he will fly to Poland.

“We looked at neighbouring countries and the cheapest was a flight to Poznan in Poland, so we have six-hour flight with a stopover in Warsaw,” he said.

“Once we get to Poznan we will get a train straight to Berlin.”

British Airways said: “We’re currently looking at putting on additional flights and changing the aircraft type to bigger jets to accommodate as many fans as possible over the coming days.”

But EasyJet told the BBC it had “no plans” to put on extra flights to Berlin in time for the final.

Scott Hatley, from Southend-on-Sea, said he “took a punt” on booking flights for the final before the tournament began, in the hope England made it.

The tickets, which cost him £84, “look like a bargain compared to prices now,” he added.

But if money is no object, chartering a private jet for four people from Farnborough airport in Hampshire costs about £11,220 if booked through PrivateFly. As you do.

Rail

Another option is to take the train.

Fans have several options, according to Mark Smith of The Man in Seat 61. These include a Eurostar from London to Brussels, followed by a German ICE train to Cologne and another ICE to Berlin.

But Mr Smith said the best option was likely to be the ferry from Harwich to Hoek van Holland near The Hague in the Netherlands, followed by a train from The Hague to Berlin. The ferry comes in at about £83 for a single passenger with no car and the train at about £112.

“At short notice, Harwich-Hoek is actually quite good,” he told the BBC, adding that sleeper trains from the Netherlands to Berlin were also likely to have some last-minute availability.

Drivingfootball and car banner

For fans willing to brave a drive of 13-15 hours from the UK to Germany, the car may be a reliable option.

Ferries depart from Harwich, Newcastle and Hull to destinations in the Netherlands, where fans can continue on to Berlin. On Thursday, ferry crossings for two people in a Ford Fiesta this weekend were listed at between £200 and £500.

Drivers from southern England can take either the ferry or Channel Tunnel shuttle from Dover to Calais, in northern France. From there it is around 10 hours’ drive to Berlin. Prices for the shuttle, which carries cars, were listed at around £130 on Thursday.

Coaches

If you’re really committed and don’t mind sitting on a coach for 26 hours, you could get a Flixbus from Stratford, east London to Berlin Central Station for £150 one-way. Capacity is showing as almost full, and the bus operator expects to sell every seat ahead of the game.

The service also operates from Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield, Manchester and Bristol. Coaches are running throughout the weekend to locations including Alexanderplatz, which is half an hour from the stadium. Prices vary from £150 to £250.

Accommodationhotel sign and footballs

Fans on a quest to watch the game in Berlin will also need a place to stay. Hotel prices in the German capital this weekend are significantly higher than usual. A room for Sunday night at a hotel in Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf, on the side of the stadium, was listed at £252, compared to £63 a week later.

If a hotel room is too expensive, fans committed to the chant of “I want to stay here, drink all the beer” can forgo one entirely and take advantage of Berlin’s infamous bar scene. Many bars close much later than in the UK and in some cases, not at all.

Bars open 24 hours a day include Bierbörse near the Olympic Stadium, AM to PM in the central Mitte district, and Bei Schlawinchen in trendy Neukölln. England fans will not be rushed to conclude their celebrations or commiserations on Sunday night.



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