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English-German families are facing “divided loyalties” as England gear up to face Germany in the Euro 2022 final.
The teams go head to head at Wembley on Sunday evening at 5pm, with the hosts aiming for their first major trophy, while Germany seek a ninth European Championship title.
The game will be watched by millions, including English-German families up and down the country who are preparing for a tense showdown.
Darren Smeed and his German wife, Tiffany, will be watching the final together (Darren Smeed/PA)
Darren Smeed, 56, is hoping the Lionesses will come out on top, while his German wife, Tiffany, has said Sunday’s final will be a “win-win situation”.
The couple, who have been married for 20 years, plan to watch the match at Mr Smeed’s parents’ house in Suffolk.
Mrs Smeed, 46, told the PA news agency: “I was hoping that either Germany or England would make it to the finals and now that they both have, it’s a win-win situation for me.
“I feel like I am half English anyway but when I saw that Germany had made it to the final I was very, very happy.
“I hope that Germany will win tomorrow but if England plays a better game then I’ll be pleased with that.”
Despite supporting opposing teams, the Smeeds said they will be celebrating the popularity of the Euros 2022 regardless of the outcome.
With the old rivalry between Germany and England, I know Sunday will be a well-publicised game.
“There will be friendly rivalry but with English football we never know whether we’re going to win or lose or what’s going to happen,” Mr Smeed told PA.
“With the old rivalry between Germany and England, I know Sunday will be a well-publicised game.
“Hopefully the match will do a lot to stimulate and inspire the younger generation.
“At the end of the day, that’s what we will be celebrating regardless of the result.”
Austin Elliot, a 60-year-old university lecturer from Manchester, is married to his wife Anita, who is from Bavaria in Germany.
And while his wife and 14-year-old son “are completely indifferent to football”, Mr Elliot will watch the game with his 18-year-old daughter, Sophie, who he says will have “divided loyalties”.
“She will have slightly divided loyalties because she plays for a team in Britain and knows who the players are,” Mr Elliot told PA.
“But at the same time, she’s got a German shirt sent to her by her German family.
“Sophie and I have watched all the games. She has played football since she was eight or nine and she’s become more serious about it in the last couple of years, training twice a week.
“She says it’s a win-win and that she’s not going to be bothered about who wins, whereas I will be disappointed if England lose.”
Ben Stebbings, Sarah Stebbings and their dog Mabel (Ben Stebbings/PA)
Ben Stebbings, 32, from Herefordshire, and his wife Sarah Stebbings, 33, who grew up in Bavaria to English parents, live in Winchester and will be watching the match together.
Despite growing up in Germany – and her mother teaching several Bayern Munich players including Thomas Muller – Sarah is likely to be supporting England.
Mr Stebbings said: “She’s happy either way, she supports both usually. Normally England don’t do to well at major events so she ends up supporting because they fare much better.
“If Germany score, I don’t think she’ll be too upset. Deep down I think she wants England to win. I don’t think there will be too much falling out.”
Meanwhile, Katja, 45, from Munich, and her Scottish-English husband Neil, 63, plan to watch the match together in their Worcestershire home.
Katja, a writer and office assistant, said: “Last year, when the men’s teams were playing, I watched it upstairs in the bedroom and he watched it in the lounge.
“When England beat Germany, I cried for 15 minutes afterwards. He tried to cheer me up. I know it wasn’t his fault but I slightly blamed it on him.
“He is very peaceful about it and he even claims that he supports Germany for me, but I’m not sure if that’s true. He’ll say ‘come on Germany’ but I think he wouldn’t mind if England win.”