Fans without tickets have tried to storm Wembley Stadium ahead of the Euro2020 final between England and Italy.
One group of supporters managed to get past stewards at the Club Wembley entrance, the closest point of entry from Wembley Way, where thousands were gathered ahead of the clash at 8pm.
As fans with tickets entered the stadium, police were heard asking security to address the issue of areas being undermanned, with the threat of supporters attempting to force their way in.
Tickets have been exchanged for thousands of pounds ahead of England’s first final in a major tournament since 1966 when they won the World Cup. Some fans were reported to have gained entry without a ticket for the Denmark semi-final, with the Football Association attempting to beef up security to avoid a repeat.
Wembley rn pic.twitter.com/3lXRRvG7d0
— Rave Footage 🎥 (@RaveFootage) July 11, 2021
A spokesman for Wembley Stadium said: "We are dealing with an incident that occurred at the outer security perimeter area of the stadium, with support from police.
"Safety measures were quickly activated in the relevant areas and there were no security breaches of people without tickets getting inside the stadium."
Fans on Wembley Way were packed together drinking in the hours before the game. Police attempted to control the crowds outside the Boxpark fanzone, where beer cans were thrown in the rowdiest part of the walk to the stadium.
Fans have gathered in an area of the stadium that is usually reserved for players' family and friends
Credit: CARL RECINE
An injured fan is helped outside Wembley Stadium
Getty Images Europe
Media were advised at the start of the tournament not to wear their accreditation around their necks during their travel to the stadium to avoid the threat of lanyards being snatched.
Fans were also seen "tailgating" as they got their tickets scanned to enter, with the ticketless fans attempting to get through the turnstiles behind a ticket-holder.
UEFA are expected to launch an investigation into fans gaining entry to the stadium without tickets.
Lack of security at Wembley is unbelievable. Fans have just rushed a disabled gate (D11) when it opened. No ticket checks until the turnstiles. Seen hundreds here without tickets trying to jib in. Remarkable contrast to security at La Cartuja in Seville.
— Richard Martin (@Rich9908) July 11, 2021
In 2017 the governing body for European football punished FC Cologne after their supporters gained entry to the Emirates Stadium and created disturbances. The German club were given a €60,000 fine, had to pay for damages and had a one-match travelling back for supporters which was suspended for two years.
Security expert Alex Bomberg, whose Intelligent Protection firm provides security for footballers and celebrities, said: "Any security breach at Wembley is serious and really has far reaching security implications. We need to bear in mind Hillsborough and we also need to think about the Manchester Arena attack.
"An event like this has many moving parts and one would hope that security risk assessments have been properly carried out and mitigation measures are in place to deal with such incidents."
Febrile atmosphere at Wembley. This is near the main entrance to Club Wembley a few minutes ago where it looked like a group of fans broke through the security cordon. Stewards currently chasing people around. Not sure they’ll get all the way to the wine and canapés pic.twitter.com/YTIx8eQLz2
— Sam Wallace (@SamWallaceTel) July 11, 2021
Police block off access to Piccadilly Circus
By 4.30pm thousands had packed into Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus, some piling onto each other’s shoulders as chants of “football’s coming home” echoed through the streets.
Police lined up to block off access to Piccadilly Circus, and apprehended one fan who had tried to push past them to gain access, with rubbish piling up outside overflowing bins.
Riot police were called into central London to help break up the violent scenes
Credit: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP
A footpath outside the National Gallery was also closed to entry.
Supporters piled into souvenir shops to avail themselves of England flags and some set off red flares at Piccadilly, while medics attended to one man with a bloodied face just outside Trafalgar Square.
At Trafalgar Square, there was a strong police presence
Bottles thrown as Leicester Square, London, becomes unofficial ‘fan zone’ for thousands of England fans. #ENGITA #EnglandvsItaly #England #ENG #EURO2020 pic.twitter.com/NdvaX6IxIF
— Urban Pictures (@Urban_Pictures) July 11, 2021
King’s Cross train station had to be evacuated shortly after 1pm as fans travelling from the North piled in and set off more flares.
A Transport for London spokesman confirmed the closure, stating that a false fire alarm had been set off, but that the station was only closed for “a short amount of time.”
Leicester Square filled up as more party grenades were set off and some fans stripped naked in their fervour.
Elsewhere, a conga and a newlywed detour
A newly married couple, Amish (l) and Nimisha stand in front of the stadium with their football shirts
There were good-humoured celebrations too. A tube on the Bakerloo line was filmed at a standstill as fans did a conga line through the carriages whilst tube announcement boards displayed messages of encouragement to “Southgate and the England Team”.
Groups of chanting men cycled through central London on ‘beer bikes’ and others climbed on top of buses to jump up and down and sing raucously.
Chants of “Southgate you’re the one” echoed through the streets as did ‘Sweet Caroline’ and endless recitations of “it’s coming home”.
Deafening chants on an endless loop rung out everywhere from the incoming flood of packed tube trains, right up to the stadium gates.