Belfast Telegraph

Sports Awards

Euro 2016: England beats Wales 2-1 following last minute goals

By Tom White and Alex Britton, Press Association, in Lens

England won the battle of the home nations as they beat Wales 2-1 in their Euro 2016 group game.

Coming from behind after a Gareth Bale free kick, goals from Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge completed the turn around for England.

The build up to the game had been marred by fresh trouble involving fans and the French police but the Welsh and the English supporters came together to create an electric atmosphere inside the Stade Bollaert-Delelis in Lens.

Mixing together before the game, both sets of supporters applauded each other's anthems before kick off.

At the fan zone in nearby Lille - where England fans appeared to be outnumbering those from Wales - supporters were in good voice throughout the game.

The Welsh fans erupted into cheers just before half time when Gareth Bale scored the free kick and pockets of the crowd at the fan zone were seen dancing while the sizeable English support stood with heads in hands.

But Jamie Vardy's goal on 56 minutes and Sturridge's last-minute winner sent the England fans into raptures.

Following the violence in Lille on Wednesday night, UK police confirmed 13 Britons were some of the 36 arrested in the city after flares and bangers were lit as officers charged at chanting fans, spraying tear gas in an attempt to disperse the crowds. A further two Brits were arrested in Lens.

Ahead of the game, FA chief executive Martin Glenn urged all supporters to be "respectful", asking them to remember French police are also dealing with the bigger issue of a terror threat.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "My message is that the French are trying to deal with a real security threat - behave responsibly. Come to enjoy the game, but just have a think about the wider position."

His comments came before French officials announced three Russian men had been jailed for up to two years and 20 Russian men will be deported from France for their role in the violence that marred the start of the tournament.

Footage from the clashes in Lille on Wednesday showed pepper spray being used against England fans who ran towards officers with riot shields.

Authorities said 16 people were treated in hospital but gave no details about their injuries.

Many fans are staying in Lille and despite bars being shut, some supporters defied a ban on drinking in the street the evening before the England-Wales game.

Late in the evening, two groups of about 250 English fans merged just as thousands of French supporters were streaming out of the fan zone where they had been watching France beat Albania.

Several hundred riot police formed a human barrier between the two groups.

Some fireworks were fired from the French side and a few bottles were thrown from the English. The police then charged in the direction of the English, spraying tear gas and causing a stampede, with people sprinting into side streets.

Supporters of Slovakia and Russia were also in Lille after their game in the city on Wednesday. Earlier in the evening, a small group of people wearing Russian Ultra T-shirts threw a flare at a large group of England fans who then surged towards them.

A large number of England fans congregated outside one of the bars near the Lille Flandres station, with dozens of police officers carrying riot shields standing guard. The crowd chanted God Save The Queen and England Til I Die, as well as singing "Where were you in Marseille?" towards the assembled officers.

Elsewhere, a group of England fans outside the railway station in Lille were penned in by police when one of them lit a flare and began to wave it as they chanted.

In a statement, tournament organiser Uefa said: "Uefa regrets the skirmishes which occurred in Lille last night. Police forces made several arrests and were quick to restore order and keep the situation under control."

National Police Chiefs' Council Lead for Football Policing, Assistant Chief Constable Mark Roberts, said more UK officers had arrived in France.

He said: "There were a few minor incidents of anti-social behaviour and disorder throughout yesterday that were quickly and effectively dealt with by the French police.

"This resulted in 13 British nationals being arrested and five British nationals hospitalised with minor injuries. The 12pm curfew and use of plastic bottles were helpful tools in preventing an escalation of violent behaviour.

"More UK officers are now in France and we are working with the French police should there be any further disturbances.

"A reminder to fans to enjoy the rest of the tournament, keep yourselves safe and behave responsibly - do not retaliate to provocation and seek help from police if you are harassed or attacked."

Belfast Telegraph Digital