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Scotland fans revel in England frustration following Euros draw

Scotland fans revel in England frustration following Euros draw
© Reuters
The Auld Enemy clash was a chance for the visitors to make their mark on and off the park.

One Scotland fan gave a simple explanation of why thousands had gone to London without tickets, despite pleas to stay away if they did not have a safe place to watch the game.

"We're here and we'll always be here," he told a television reporter outside King's Cross station.

While most parts of the world have had to wait about 18 months, so far, for anything like normal life to return, the Scotland supporters had experienced a 23-year absence from a major tournament.

What had been common throughout the 1970s to the late 1990s had become a holy grail for several generations of supporters.

Scotland fans
Scotland fans gather in Leicester Square (Kieran Cleeves/PA)

Monday heralded the comeback but a 2-0 defeat by the Czech Republic in front of about 10,000 fans at Hampden, in the words of one fan, felt a bit like a bad friendly.

With the rest of Europe watching on with interest at the resumption of the oldest rivalry in world football, the Auld Enemy clash was a chance for Scotland to make their mark on and off the park.

Over Thursday and Friday, hundreds of Scotland fans streamed off every train that arrived at King's Cross and Euston from north of the border. More came down by road.

Central London was full of Scots again, just like the days when the teams played each other every year. The official advice, the lingering Covid-19 risk and even torrential rain could not stop a significant portion of the Tartan Army making the pilgrimage.

The opening defeat was a distant memory as the 2,700 fans with official Scotland-end tickets warmed up for kick-off inside Wembley, their optimism revived by the return from injury of Kieran Tierney as well the pre-match refreshments.

The England fans had more justified confidence after their team started the European Championship finals with a comfortable 1-0 win over Croatia – just their third opening victory from their last 10 major tournaments.

The home fans in the 22,500 sell-out turned up very much in expectation rather than the hope that dominated the feelings of the away support.

Each anthem was roundly booed by the opposition fans but there was solidarity as the 22 players took the knee in support of racial equality. Loud cheers from all four sides of the ground drowned out some very isolated individual boos.

England fans
England fans show their support (PA)

Scotland got the first chance but there was a huge let-off when John Stones headed unchallenged against the post 11 minutes in.

By 25 minutes in, Flower of Scotland was ringing around Wembley as the Tartan Army matched their heroes' increasing confidence.

"Can you hear the English sing?" soon followed, with the Scots answering their own question in emphatic fashion, and Stephen O'Donnell almost silenced them further, along with his own critics, when his volley was brilliantly saved by Jordan Pickford.

The half-time whistle was greeted loudly by the Scotland fans but the home support must have quietly welcomed a chance for Gareth Southgate to lift his players.

The over-30s in the Scotland contingent will also have had a nagging fear that Euro 96 history might repeat itself after England came flying out of the blocks after a slow first half.

Although there was only one set of fans joining in with Sweet Caroline.

England fans
England fans look on (PA)

The hosts restarted on the front foot and their followers also stepped up a gear. It was almost as if they had realised during the break that this fixture was a contest after all and their team needed their help.

Mason Mount and Reece James threatened but the sight of Jack Grealish warming up garnered a bigger cheer.

The England faithful raised volume further around the hour mark as Scotland were pinned back and Grealish was given a rapturous reception when he came on, although the visiting fans rediscovered their voice when Lyndon Dykes had an effort cleared off the line.

The tension around Wembley was palpable as both sides searched for a winner and the England fans showed some frustration as they jeered some long spells of Scotland possession in the final 10 minutes.

'Flower of Scotland' once again filled the north-west London air as the game entered the closing stages and the final whistle was met by boos from the home fans and celebrations from the Scots after their first point of the tournament.

They and their team had certainly let their neighbours know they were here, and they might well hang around in Euro 2020 a little bit longer.

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England and Scotland take the knee ahead of kickoff at Euro 2020 on June 18, 2021
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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
ChinaChina21131246
JapanJapan175830
United StatesUnited States16171346
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia11151137
AustraliaAustralia1031427
Great BritainGreat Britain891128
Today's Olympic highlights header

Sunday's key events


GOLF
· The men's golf reaches its conclusion, with plenty of players still in medal contention. Home favourite Hideki Matsuyama is one shot off Xander Schauffele's lead, while Great Britain's Paul Casey is another shot further back and Tommy Fleetwood is also in the mix (11.30pm-8am)

CYCLING - BMX
· Great Britain have already made history in the BMX events in Tokyo, something Charlotte Worthington and Declan Brooks will be looking to add to in the women's (2.10am) and men's (3.10am) freestyle finals

SWIMMING
· The final day of swimming action begins with the men's 50m freestyle final. Ben Proud could add to a medal-laden Games in the pool for Team GB so far, although he is up against USA's Caeleb Dressel, who is going for his fourth gold in Tokyo (2.30am)
· From sprint to endurance, Great Britain's second medal hope of the day comes through Daniel Jervis in the men's 1500m freestyle final (2.44am)
· Team GB will again be among the heavy favourites for gold in the last swimming event of the Games - the men's 4x100m medley relay final - having won the mixed event in a world record time on Saturday (3.36am)

BOXING
· Already guaranteed at least a bronze, Pat McCormack takes part in the men's welterweight semi-final against Ireland's Aidan Walsh with a spot in the gold medal final at stake (4.03am)
· Ben Whittaker is also in the semi-finals of the men's light heavyweight and will be looking to continue Team GB's success in the ring (4.51am)

TENNIS
· There will be a surprise on the top of the men's tennis podium after Novak Djokovic missed out on a medal altogether. Alexander Zverev takes on Karen Khachanov in the second match on Centre Court at the Ariake Tennis Park (7am-2pm)

SAILING
· Alison Young will be going for gold in the women's laser radial medal race (7.33am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· Team GB's Max Whitlock will look to defend his 2016 Olympic title in the men's pommel horse final (10.41am)

ATHLETICS
· The men's high jump final includes GB's Tom Gale, although his chances of a medal look bleak (11.10am)
· So often the blue-riband event of the Olympics, the men's 100m final takes place as the world's fastest bid to be crowned Usain Bolt's successor. Three Brits have made it into the semi-finals (11.15am-11.32am), and the final looks wide open after an underwhelming display by favourite Trayvon Bromell on Saturday (1.50pm)

HOCKEY
· Great Britain face India in the men's quarter-final (1pm)

> Today's schedule in full
Todays Game Header Right
EFL Cup
Olympic Games Men's Football
Scottish Premiership
Pre-Season Friendlies
Portuguese Super Cup
Taca da Liga
Scottish Championship
Scottish League One
Scottish League Two
Belgian Pro League
Swiss Super League
Russian Premier League
Ukrainian Premier League
Swedish Allsvenskan
Danish Superliga
Finnish Veikkausliiga
League of Ireland Premier
Belarusian Premier League
2.Bundesliga
Ligue 2
Major League Soccer
Brasileiro
Copa Diego Maradona
Uruguayan Primera Division
Liga MX
Chinese Super League
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