Euro 2020: WW2 veteran asks England fans to respect Germany during Wembley knockout clash

·2-min read

Watch: WW2 veteran asks England fans to respect Germany during Wembley knockout clash

Even at the age of 98 there's not much that Walter Nixon is tired of in life.

He is enjoying every game of Euro 2020 and will savour a beer as England move into the first knockout game of the tournament against Germany at Wembley on Tuesday.

But as a veteran of the Second World War he is tired of the jingoistic anti-German tabloid headlines that were so evident at Euro 96 and small minority of fans that still insist on singing about German bombers.

He is not alone in believing that kind of sentiment has no place in 2021.

"I'm disappointed really in people when they hark back," he told Sky News.

"That was some 80 years ago and time marches on and we have got to put all that behind us now."

Mr Nixon was 19 when he signed up to the British Army from his small village in Suffolk.

He had only visited the nearest town of Ipswich a few times before that and had never been on a train before.

In the following wartime years he served in north Africa and then landed on the beaches on Anzio and went on to help liberate Italy from the Nazis.

"I've got no animosity towards the Germans…you can't look back like that," he said.

Fighting fascism was just one episode in Walter's long life and it angers him that some people still choose to revel in warfare in the name of sport.

"I feel sorry for those people - I'm sure they are the ones who didn't take part in the war… we have put it all behind us and we live for the day."

On a recent trip back to the beaches of Italy, Mr Nixon visited the graves of two of his friends who he had helped to bury after they were killed in trenches.

Mr Nixon was 41 when England won the World Cup in 1966 and remembers going into Ipswich to salute the world champions who were led by former Ipswich Town manager Alf Ramsey.

He believes the current England team led by Gareth Southgate have it within them to overcome Germany and banish the painful memories of penalty shoot-out defeats in 1990 and 1996.

"Funnily enough I do enjoy a penalties," Mr Nixon added.

"They get you on the edge of the chair, I don't mind them at all, as long as England win."

Watch: Euro 2020 - England set for knockout clash with Germany - as bosses urged to let staff finish early for kick-off

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