Tartan Army defy appeal to descend on London
London calling for the Tartan Army (pic: SNS Group).
Tens of thousands of Scotland football fans have defied the Mayor of London to descend on the city for tonight’s crunch Euro 2020 clash with England.
Sadiq Khan urged supporters not to travel south without a ticket to the Group D match, citing concerns over the spread of coronavirus.
However, the Tartan Army have turned a deaf ear to his plea, gathering in their droves ahead of the make-or-break encounter.
Scotland received around 2,700 tickets for Wembley which will have a reduced capacity of 22,500 for the game. Supporters have to show either proof of vaccination or a negative lateral flow test before entry – yet estimates suggest upwards of 30,000 supporters have made the trip.
All 15 train services direct from Glasgow to London today in time for the game were sold out.
With no fan zone set up for the Scots, and the traditional party ground of Trafalgar Square cordoned off by authorities, many are heading to Hyde Park and Leicester Square to enjoy their first taste of a major finals since 1998.
The Metropolitan Police have issued a 48-hour dispersal order in central London giving officers the power to remove “anti-social” football fans if they are deemed to be too rowdy.
VIPs to get special waiver
Concern over defiance of Covid-19 distancing guidelines among fans comes as UK ministers are set to bow to Uefa demands to waive quarantine restrictions for thousands of VIPs due at the Wembley final.
Football’s governing body threatened to move the match from Wembley to Hungary if 2,500 designated VIPs including Uefa and Fifa officials, politicians, sponsors and broadcasters had to self-isolate on arrival into England.
Downing Street is thought to have acknowledged that amending the law on border restrictions for some may anger those whose holiday hopes have been dashed.
Scotland seek win to retain place in tournament
Lose against the English and Scotland’s bid to make the knockout phase for the first time will be over almost before it began.
Midfielder John McGinn is confident his team-mates can get a result if they keep their emotions in check.
“When I looked at the record between Scotland and England, I was surprised how tight the results were. The English media would have you believe the gap is humongous, so it’s up to us to prove that’s not the case,” he said.
Passion: John McGinn (pic: SNS Group)
“Scotland will always be the underdogs against England because we’ve got a population of five million and they’ve got 55 million and world-class superstars all through their squad.
“It might be a cup final for our supporters but the main message for us is to treat it like any other game. If we play with too much emotion there’s a chance we might end up with 10 men on the park.
“So it’s important to use the knowledge of what it means to the country and fans, while using our heads at the same time.
“We don’t want to take all the passion away because that’s what makes Scotland a force. But we need to be cool customers and play with composure to bring our strengths to the game.”
Scotland have Kieran Tierney fit again after the defender missed the loss to the Czechs, while England centre half Harry Maguire has recovered from an ankle injury.
Kick-off at Wembley Stadium is at 8pm.