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Events cancelled as storm forecast ahead of Scotland’s Euros clash

By Steven GoddenBBC News

Forecast for Scotland vs Switzerland Euros match in Cologne

A severe weather warning has forced the cancellation of pre-match events ahead of Scotland’s next Euro 2024 match in Germany.

Both official UEFA fan zones where matches are being shown on big screens are closed.

A ferry service connecting the two fan sites on either side of the Rhine river has also stopped running.

Heavy rain has been falling in Cologne, with hail and storm gusts forecast ahead of Scotland’s second match of the tournament, against Switzerland, on Wednesday.

But German officials insist the city is well prepared for an estimated 60,000 Tartan Army supporters now arriving from Munich following the disappointing 5-1 defeat to the hosts on Friday.

The weather remained clear during the morning and early afternoon, with fans taking to the streets to party, but heavy rain soon soaked the Tartan Army.

Walk north along the banks of the Rhine from Central Station and the route is lined with row after row of portable toilets.

Not pretty perhaps but an unmissable sign of the city’s preparations to host Steve Clarke’s side in their second match of the Euros campaign.

The authorities in Cologne say they’ve been getting ready for this tournament for six years.

PA Media Scotland fans wearing ponchos in Cologne during Euro 2024PA Media

Scotland fans were soaked in Cologne

Two official UEFA fans zones showing all the tournament matches on big screens have been set up on opposite sides of the river with a combined capacity of around 20,000.

PA Media closed venuePA Media

Official fanzones have been closed

That’s not enough, however, to cope with the numbers expected to arrive for Wednesday night’s match where Scotland fans will outnumber their Swiss opponents by three to one.

PA Media A Scotland fan holds an umbrella in Cologne during heavy rainPA Media

Some fans had come prepared for the bad weather

It’s led the organisers to create another viewing area capable of catering for an additional 50,000 supporters.

PA Media soaked fansPA Media

The rain hasn’t affected the spirits of fans

Gregor Timmer from the City of Cologne Department of Sports explains this facility – which will also be set up for England’s match against Slovenia next Tuesday – is equipped with six giant screens featuring English language commentary as well as food, drink and, as we’ve seen, rows of toilets.

“We are well prepared and everybody can feel secure and happy here in Cologne” he says.

Ashley and Brian Burke

Ashley and Brian Burke from Clydebank are basing themselves in Cologne for the tournament

Scotland fans Brian Burke and wife Ashley from Clydebank arrived in the city last Thursday. It’s their base for the tournament and they describe their experience so far as “really good”

On Sunday the couple watched the Netherlands versus Poland match on the big screen in the city centre fan zone.

“That was well set up,” Brian says. “Really decent prices as well. Hot dog and a beer for less than 10 Euros. It’s really good to see lots of fans from different areas and the Germans have taken to the Tartan Army really well.”

Daniel Greig

Daniel Greig from Kilmarnock is impressed by the city

Daniel Greig from Kilmarnock agrees. “We’ve actually been pretty impressed with Cologne so far, he says.

“I can’t fault it. There’s all nations about now, everybody’s mingling and it’s great.”

Alan and Tracy Campbell’s experience hasn’t been so positive. The couple, who’ve travelled from Vancouver, watched Scotland versus Germany in the Heumarkt fan zone.

Alan and  Tracy Campbell

Alan and Tracy Campbell had mixed experiences watching the first game

Alan says getting a drink or going to the toilet was “easy enough” despite the venue reaching capacity, forcing organisers to turn fans away.

However, he says the atmosphere “changed big time at kick off because we were heavily outnumbered.”

“The German fans started booing the national anthem of Scotland,” adds Tracy.

“People were coming up and booing you because you were a Scotland fan. The past couple of days we’ve been in its been a better atmosphere but Friday was uncomfortable.”

PA Media Scotland fans playing the bagpipes in Cologne during Euro 2024PA Media

Scotland fans took to the streets of Cologne despite the poor weather forecast

PA Media Scotland fans playing football in front of Cologne CathedralPA Media

Fans played football in front of Cologne Cathedral

Around the corner from fan zone, the tables outside the “Tunnes and Schal” pub are full of singing Scots.

“Good singers” remarks Aly Sabri who works there – albeit with a wry smile. He says the tournament is good for business and on the whole the fans are well-behaved and courteous.

Aly Sabri

Aly Sabry says there’s no danger of the beer running out

As a brewery city he thinks Cologne will have no problem coping with thousands of thirsty Scotland fans. “There’s no danger of running out,” he confidently predicts.

The footballing influx isn’t so good however for Santiago Jesus who runs the nearby Sausalitos cocktail bar. Plenty of people outside in the square drinking 5 euro beers but from his perspective too few buying 15 euro cocktails.

“So many people outside watching football, not many people coming inside” he observes ruefully.

“We don’t make the same numbers we normally make.”

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