Russian hooligans celebrate attack on England fans - as they blame them for violence

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Russian hooligan groups have claimed their brutal attacks on England football fans at the 2016 tournament in France were a ‘justified measure to protect supporters who’d been trapped’ in messages commemorating the eighth anniversary of the bloody scenes.

Several English fans were hospitalised when they were ambushed at a drinking spot in Marseille before the European Championship game between the two nations.

However, messages in pro-Russia hooligan groups on the encrypted app Telegram uncovered by the Express show a very different version of events is being circulated.

A post from a person claiming to have been an eyewitness presents the attacks as an act of protection that rescued a bus of Russian fans that English supporters had trapped and were “pushing into the water".

The message claims the coach was transporting members of a state-sponsored marketing campaign called ‘Russia Loves Football’ when it entered the Old Port Square of Marseille “where thousands of tipsy Englishmen had already gathered".

It claims English supporters, believing the coach to be carrying the Russian football team, blocked the road.

“The beer was flying in our direction and the chants of "F**k of Russia - England is the best," the post continued. “There was nowhere to drive [and] some scumbag threw a bottle at the windshield.”

Emphasising the dangerous situation, the message claims the bus was being edged into the waters below.

“Either the gendarme arrived in time, or the driver managed to turn. Another minute, and we would be finished.”

Rescue, the message claims, came from “three hundred Russian fighters” who cleared the Old Port Square and enabled the bus to make a successful getaway.

Ahead of this year's Euro 2024 competition England fans expressed fears they might be targeted again and speaking to the Express last week, several supporters referenced memories of vicious attacks by Russian thugs.

“If there is going to be trouble it will be that game,” James Monks, a diehard England fan from Birmingham attending all the county’s matches in Germany, said, “it’s got a lot of similarities to when we played Russia in Marseille. I would imagine, if there is trouble, it would be more Serbian fans attacking English, like it was eight years ago.”

According to loyal England followers, part of the problem is that a history of violence abroad has made them “a bit of a scalp” for other country’s hooligans seeking to bolster their reputations.

Over the weekend, an Express investigation revealed that neo-Nazis and hooligans are already claiming to have a presence on Germany’s streets ahead of the tournament kicking off.

This was confirmed by the police chief of Gelsenkirchen which hosts England’s opening game with Serbia who said hundreds of thugs were expected to travel.

In order to prevent confrontations between the rival fans, organisers have split the city into two halves and opened a 45,000-capacity race course showing the game for ticketless English supporters.

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