The freedom to travel post Covid-19 , wins in the long run on the European football championships at the starting line. In fact, even the most hardcore fans wouldn’t give up on their next vacation, even if it meant seeing their biggest opponent win. Uefa Euro 2020.
It is the (not very footballing) result of a research commissioned by Booking.com – the official partner of European football clubs for booking accommodation and attractions – on the aspects that football fans of the various European teams have in common.
Research revealed that after over a year of restrictions due to the pandemic , nearly two-thirds of European fans (63%) would rather see their main opponents win the tournament rather than skip the next vacation. If we look at Italy, the figure increases: 7 out of 10 fans (70% therefore) declared that they preferred the victory of their rivals instead of giving up their next trip. Most Europeans who follow football have already started thinking about a destination for the next holidays, when the travel restrictions due to Covid-19 will be relaxed: 8 out of 10 fans (83%) confirm that they want to travel for leisure next year, as long as it is safe to do so.
Germany’s main opponent
While the main 24 European countries are preparing to compete for the European football championships, almost half (44%) of Italian fans have indicated Germany as their main opponent, 38% France and the remaining 28% Spain. Many European football fans (38%) also indicated Germany as their main rival, followed by France (30%), Spain (22%) and England (21%). Again according to research by Booking.com, two thirds of European fans (67%) say they are rivals on the pitch but friends in life, while 8 out of 10 (85%) agree that football fans around the world have a lot in common. Furthermore, more than half (51%) say it is possible to get along with someone who supports another team.
The testimony of an ex
Competition and rivalry on the pitch in Europe are a well-known topic to former Italian player of international level and Uefa ambassador Gianluca Zambrotta, who is also familiar with the sense of friendship and team spirit off the pitch: “I can understand – said the former Italian national football player, World Champion in 2006 and vice-champion of Europe in 2000 – why the search by Booking.com shows that so many Italian fans would rather see Germany, our main rival, win Uefa Euro 2020, rather than give up their next vacation, after the difficult year we experienced with the pandemic. I’m not sure I would have answered the same when playing. As a player who has played for many years – continued the former Juventus full-back – I have established many lasting friendships that have become rivalries on the pitch and vice versa. At Euro 2008 Italy lost a famous and important match on penalties against Spain and some of my good friends at club level like Andres Iniesta, Xavi and Carlos Puyol were on the team that beat us that night. They went on to win the tournament, but after that we were still friends, and of course I was happy for them. One of the most surprising things about being a footballer – concluded Zambrotta – is that you can travel the world and discover different peoples and cultures. The 2006 World Cup was great for Italian football and Germany, one of our fiercest rivals, hosted an extraordinary tournament. The fans were absolutely fantastic, even when we beat their team in the semifinals. We won the World Cup, so it’s a very happy memory ».
Europeans at the starting line
The kick-off will be on Friday 11 June in Rome and the matches will be held in 11 European cities. The final will take place in Wembley, in England, Sunday 11 July. Each match will see the return of the fans in the stands, albeit in a reduced form, and following the travel restrictions for Covid-19, the majority of the audience will be composed of national fans from the host countries, at least for the group stage.
Traveling to see their team live is usually a priority for many fans, but research from Booking.com has revealed that these trips abroad go far beyond matches. Almost three quarters of European fans (71%) say that the beauty of watching football live is watching them go together with the opposing fans, while 3 out of 5 (60%) go to the stadium to enjoy the atmosphere at the stadium. alongside the fans of the other team. Most fans confirm that they will miss the opposing team’s supporters this summer. Eight out of ten European fans (84%) believe that opponents create a special atmosphere in the country or city they visit to watch a match.