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England beat Scotland after fans and players unite to remember the fallen

Published 11/11/2016

Scotland fans arrive from Edinburgh at King's Cross, London, as thousands of football fans descend on the capital for the England v Scotland World Cup qualifier.
Scotland fans arrive from Edinburgh at King's Cross, London, as thousands of football fans descend on the capital for the England v Scotland World Cup qualifier.

England and Scotland united in respectful remembrance of the fallen in an Armistice Day World Cup qualifier at Wembley before a match that finished 3-0 in favour of the hosts.

Goals from Daniel Sturridge, Adam Lallana and Gary Cahill ensured a clear win for Gareth Southgate's men with Gordon Strachan's Scotland squandering chances to stay in the game.

After boisterous scenes in Trafalgar Square before the match, both sides paused before kick-off to remember those killed in two world wars with armbands displaying red poppies, which had been banned by Fifa, and wreaths in evidence. Fans also prominently displayed poppies.

England ran out convincing winners when the action on the field got under way, with some of the 14,000 strong contingent of Scotland fans leaving early in the latest instalment of football's oldest international fixture.

The mood turned ugly earlier on Friday in the capital as England and Scotland fans gathered in Trafalgar Square, and police made two arrests.

Blood pouring from one fan's leg covered a Saltire flag as paramedics took care of a concussed fan. And at least one person was treated in an ambulance at the square, where thousan ds of Scotland fans had gathered.

Blue flare smoke hung in the air and the sound of breaking glass could be heard, as police pulled away a group of England fans who looked ready to fight with a handful of Scotland supporters.

Fans in the central London square sang and waved flags, with many climbing on to Nelson's Column and chanting.

There was a considerably increased police presence in the square, where p ublic toilets were closed at 4.30pm due to deliberate damage such as equipment being kicked and tiles being pulled off, police and workers said.

There were two arrests in Trafalgar Square, one on suspicion of common assault and the other on suspicion of being drunk and disorderly, the Metropolitan Police said.

Police had urged football fans to respect Armistice Day events ahead of the World Cup qualifier.

A Met Police spokesman said: "We are aware that in the past Scottish supporters have congregated in Trafalgar Square.

"Given the match falls on November 11, we have also been liaising with the Royal British Legion, who will be hosting their 'Silence in the Square' event in Trafalgar Square to mark Armistice Day."

England fans were promised an early look inside the Three Lions dressing room. The official Twitter feed of the #England football teams, @England, revealed a picture of an England shirt hanging on a hook.

Crowds in the square, which had been full for most of the afternoon, started to thin at around 5:30pm as hundreds started making their way on to Tube trains bound for Wembley.

Cracked bottle-necks and empty cans crunched underfoot as they left the square.

Scores of people came down from the column, leaving shattered glass, wet cardboard and spilled alcohol on the landmark. One of the lions flanking Nelson's column had a traffic cone placed on its head.

Passer-by Nicoletta Morelli said: "It's not so nice to see London like this. I have not forgotten the hooliganism of British fans in Rome."

Gillian Johnson, a heritage warden with the GLA, said it was "terrible", adding: "It's really not fair, this is supposed to be a public place."

A foreman cleaning the mess said he had come to "expect this level of mess" when football fans are in town.

Men with large brushes swept away the debris as a strong smell of stale alcohol lingered in the air.

Empty bottles lined the pool rims of the two fountains, which had been switched off after they were filled with fairy liquid by Scottish fans three years ago.

Earlier in the day, shortly before the 11am Armistice Day silence, a group of 22 servicemen from all over Scotland congregated at King's Cross.

Kenny Petrie, 45, said: "We travel for games as a group quite often - this year we've been to France, Prague and Malta.

"We've never had any trouble in England, but there is more friction in Europe, like at the Euros.

"England are trying to escape the hooligan stereotype. We just want a peaceful game and a Scottish victory."

Andy Robbins, 48, a football coach, said: "It's a double-edged sword, Remembrance Day. If anything does happen, it'll be tainted by who's to blame."

Despite earlier scenes of unrest fans appeared to be in better spirits as they made their way to Wembley.

And the mood was much the same at the end of the match. Supporters of both sides joined the usual crowds making their way to Wembley Park Station, without any obvious trouble.

When made to wait by marshals, some England fans took to singing the national anthem to pass the time. Others took to discussing the game with Scots who had braved the cold to wear kilts.

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