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Chaos in Cologne last night. 15 policeman were injured and several English football hooligans were arrested. Six Englishmen, one German, and one Swede were arrested for drunken behaviour. Later the same evening eight hooligans from Stockholm were arrested.
England are well aware of their issue. Take any major football tournament and watch how Eamon and Fiona talk about nothing else for three hours the next morning. But in Sweden people don't have the same conditions. Swedes are not natural born football hooligans - they ape their English brethren.
If hooliganism has a 'soul' then the English have it. It doesn't make it better but still and all. But the Swedes don't have any 'soul' when it comes to hooliganism. They're simply trying to do what the English do - and that makes it worse.
Chief of the Swedish support police in Germany Eric Nord says: 'they're not suspected of a crime. According to German law they can be held for twenty four hours if a judge approves'. The German authorities plan to keep the eight in custody until after the match.
It was right after 01:00 AM English hooligans attacked German police in downtown Cologne. They threw bottles and stones and did a lot of damage. Fifteen policemen had to be taken care of for cuts and one had to be sent to hospital. Yet another had to go off duty because of his injuries. The trouble started when English fans climbed up on a monument at Alte Mark to set up their British flags.
'They dropped their beer bottles and fell into the glass shards. When the police came they thought they were going to be arrested and began throwing things', says Ingpeer Mayer, spokesperson for the Cologne police.
The English hooligans and several Swedes were taken away. 'There are both English and Swedes involved', said a German policeman on location. 'They didn't seem to be hooligans', says Ingpeer Mayer. Along the walking street in Alte Mark there were glass shards, bottles, and litter. Several thousand people were in the city last night when the tumult began.
A Swede reports: 'we were in on it from the beginning but when it got out of control we got out of there'.
During the night roadblocks were put up in the city to prevent more trouble.
'It's peaceful and we hope it stays that way. We're excited about the football match and the football party tonight in Cologne', says Ingpeer Mayer.
He doesn't want to reveal what preparations the police have made. Der Spiegel say 35,000 Englishmen have traveled to Cologne without match tickets.
'But we're as well prepared as we can be', he says.