Salem Radio Network News Thursday, August 5, 2021

Sports

Soccer-Party in full swing ahead of Euro 2020 final

LONDON (Reuters) -Tens of thousands of supporters descended on London’s Wembley Stadium on Sunday, kick-starting an alcohol-fuelled party before England play Italy in the final of Euro 2020.

Around two hours before the game, fans ran past stewards and some got into the ground while bottles were thrown in from outside the perimeter. Other supporters sang, chanted and hurled drinks, and some climbed on top of buses.

London police said they had helped the security teams at the ground.

“Wembley security officials have confirmed there was no security breaches of people without tickets getting inside the stadium,” the Metropolitan police said on Twitter.

Police had previously urged supporters not to travel to Wembley if they did not have match tickets, and complained of multiple cases of flares being set off within the vicinity of railway stations in London.

Across the capital, many had set up camp early with thousands queuing to get into pub gardens before lunchtime and others packed into city squares.

Some four hours before the 8pm local kick-off, Wembley Way was crammed with supporters all the way from the underground station to the stadium.

Beer cans and bottles flew through the air as acrid smoke from flares drifted through the crowd and supporters, dressed in England shirts of various vintages, sang and chanted. The exuberant scenes at the stadium were replicated across the city.

Gus McKay, a 53-year-old England fan from Bradford-on-Avon, joined the party at Leicester Square in central London.

“I think it feels incredible,” he said. “I’ve been waiting all my life (to reach a final).”

Dave Woodall from York echoed the sentiment: “I was one when we won the World Cup and it’s a dream that I never thought would happen,” he said.

“So I’m like a kid at Christmas. It’s the best feeling ever. I had to come down for the day, I couldn’t miss this.”

England are bidding to win their first major title since lifting the 1966 World Cup.

(Reporting by Ossian Shine and Simon Evans, Additional reporting by Kate Holton; Editing by Ed Osmond)

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