Bloody scenes as violence mars England's win over Scotland on Armistice Day
Friday's first World Cup meeting between England and Scotland was marred by Armistice Day clashes inside and outside Wembley.
Two men were arrested and several were left injured at Trafalgar Square, and at least one fan was ejected from the match itself, as supporters ignored pleas to show restraint out of respect to the fallen before and during the historic game.
Trouble flared in the England end as the hosts cruised to a 3-0 win, leaving one spectator covered in blood, while another appeared to have his eyes gouged.
That followed ugly scenes at Trafalgar Square, including the sight of blood pouring from one man’s leg onto a Saltire flag as paramedics attended a concussion. At least one supporter was taken by ambulance from the scene.
Blue flare smoke hung in the air, and the sound of breaking glass could be heard, as police pulled away a group of England fans attempting to confront a handful of Scotland supporters, more than 14,000 of whom had been expected to travel to London.
Fans mounted Nelson’s Column, while one of the lion sculptures had a traffic cone placed on its head, mirroring the Duke of Wellington statue in Glasgow.
Public toilets had to be closed after equipment was kicked and tiles pulled off, and the square was littered with broken glass and alcohol-soaked cardboard.
Empty bottles lined the pool rims of the two fountains, which had been switched off after they were filled with fairy liquid when the two sides last played three years ago.
Amid what was a considerably increased police presence, one man was arrested on suspicion of common assault and another on suspicion of being drunk and disorderly.
The Metropolitan Police had earlier asked fans to respect Armistice Day events taking place in the square, including ‘Silence in the Square’.
The match also saw tributes paid to servicemen and women as England and Scotland defiantly paraded the poppy.
Both teams wore armbands sporting the symbol of remembrance, despite facing punishment from Fifa for breaching its rules on players displaying political, religious, commercial or personal images during matches.
Armistice Day was marked before kick-off by Football Association chairman Greg Clarke and Scottish FA president Alan McRae lining up along the touchline alongside senior representatives from the Armed Forces as commemorative wreaths were placed in the centre circle by serving personnel.
That was followed by a moment’s silence, during which the ‘Last Post’ was played.