Food fight! Fans turn Euro 2024 into battle of national dishes

With the group stage now up and running and the goals already flying in, you may have noticed that a peculiar theme has been developing off the pitch at Euro 2024.

As well as the usual chanting and grandstanding, several supporters have come up with a novel way to get under the skins of their opposition fans in a such a way that it is hard to think of another that would cause more offence.

For what could cause greater injury to a European’s patriotic pride than mocking their cherished national dish? Some travellers to Germany have even been left aghast by rivals desecrating their sacred foods right before their eyes, in front of a baying crowd.

As the 24 teams clash on the pitch in stadiums across the heart of the continent, an altogether different feud was being whipped up in the stands.

It all began on the first Saturday of the tournament when a pithy sign was spotted among the Swiss fans in Cologne. Seeking to throw their Hungarian opposition off their game, the simple and defiant message read “Fondue better than Goulash.”

With national dishes chosen as the battleground, a Swiss supporter hit his Hungarian counterparts where it hurt by proudly declaring that his favoured meal of melted cheese meal stood head and shoulders above Hungary’s ever-popular paprika-spiced stew.

The sign itself was rudimentary — a basic scrawl of black marker pen on a sheet of cardboard — but the message hit home.

Just for the record, fondue did indeed emerge as the victorious dish as the Swiss side coasted to a 3-1 win at the RheinEnergieStadion.

The fun continued later that day when a group of Albanian fans were filmed teasing their Italian foes in the streets of Dortmund by snapping bundles of spaghetti, amid the pleas for mercy and agony of their rivals.

Unfortunately, the pasta-based prematch mind games couldn’t prevent Albania from slipping to a 2-1 defeat against the Azzurri in their opening Group B fixture.

Taking a leaf out of the Swiss playbook, a Polish supporter decided to mix things up in the crowd during their opening Group D game, which they lost 2-1 against Netherlands. Indeed, a handmade placard was produced that vehemently declared Polish spicy kielbasa sausage to be superior to one of the most iconic Dutch cheeses, gouda.

It’s a tragedy to see the two foodstuffs pitted against each other when they go so well together.

There were more scenes of wanton destruction on Monday ahead of France’s first game of Group D, in which they beat Austria 1-0 in Düsseldorf.

Perhaps inspired by Albania’s spaghetti-snapping ploy, Austrian fans did their best to upset Les Bleus by pointedly breaking baguettes in front of a group of visibly shaken France supporters.

Thankfully, the whole thing ended in a good-natured handshake between the two parties, although Kylian Mbappé‘s nose suffered a similar fate to the aforementioned baguette in the match itself.