10 July 2024

Dutch-English fan backs Three Lions, but will wear Netherlands top ‘as back-up’

10 July 2024

A Dutch-English football fan said she is rooting for England to “go all the way”, but will watch the two nations’ crucial game in a Netherlands top as “a back-up”.

Emily Knight, 38, who works in the construction industry, said even though she has a Dutch mother, her loyalties are with England during Wednesday’s Euro 2024 semi-final against the Netherlands.

“If I had to pick a side, it would probably be England,” she told the PA news agency.

Mrs Knight lives with her husband Gareth, 45, and their children – Edwyn, six, and Wilfred, five – in Grantham, Lincolnshire, but she will be the only one wearing a Netherlands top during the match, adding she often visits the Netherlands to visit family there.

“My husband will be watching with his England shirt on, my kids will be in bed but they normally support England,” she said.

“I normally support England and probably, if we win, I’ll find myself cheering along,” she said.

“It’s more that the Dutch supporting element is like a back-up.

“I’m not going to be as gutted if England drop out as I would have been because I’ve still got a team in the mix.”

She predicts the score will be 2-1 to England.

“Ultimately, I am English, I was born and brought up here and I would love for England to go all the way this time and bring it home,” she said.

She added she is most looking forward to captains Harry Kane and Virgil van Dijk battling it out for victory on the pitch, and hopes the game will be more interesting than previous Euro matches she has watched.

She has referred to the performance from both teams over the course of the tournament as “pretty lacklustre”.

“The Netherlands-Turkey match was quite nailbiting, but, I think, up until then, both England and the Netherlands have not really lived up to their potential in terms of their performance,” she added.

“England have really incredible players, but put them all together and they really struggle to pull it out of the bag, so we’ll have to wait and see.”

She said her eldest son is a keen football fan, regularly playing the sport, but watching the matches has been a nerve-racking experience for him.

“My eldest son told me it was very stressful watching England do penalties (on Saturday),” she said.

Her advice to him was: “That’s something you’re going to have to get used to, kiddo.

“That is just par for the course being an England fan.”

She said England progressing through the matches has helped to provide excitement and a sense of “national camaraderie” for children, including her oldest son.

“It just cheers them up a bit when it’s raining and I drop my kid off at football camp and he’s whinging because it’s cold and icy and I say, ‘Harry Kane, he was out in the rain every week practising’, so it just sort of gives them that extra push,” she added.

Mrs Knight’s mother – Gerda Newsham, 69, who moved to the UK in 1983 – and stepfather, who live together in Essex, have also been getting caught up in the football fever.

“(My stepfather) is an enormous football fan, so he will be loudly cheering on England – potentially in a different room to my mum watching the match, but I think to safeguard matrimonial harmony, he has agreed to hang an enormous Holland flag outside of their house,” she added.

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