There have been chaotic scenes in central London with some fans even trying to force their way into Wembley Stadium as excitement for England’s historic Euro 2020 final reached fever pitch.
Officials confirmed there had been “an incident” at the outer security perimeter area, after footage showed a crowd of supporters making a mad dash to get inside.
But a spokesperson for Wembley Stadium said there had been no security breaches of people getting in without tickets.
— ram1tj (@ram1tj) July 11, 2021
They 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.”
The Metropolitan Police said they supported the security teams at Wembley Stadium.
Fans in Leicester Square were seen throwing bottles and cones and the area was left littered with rubbish.
Fans have been urged to stay safe and look after each other.
Police said there had been people “jumping off street lamps or hoardings” and warned “this could easily end in injury”.
Huge crowds of people have been in party mode outside the stadium and across London throughout the day, proudly sporting the team colours and draped in England flags.
But some boisterous supporters even climbed on top of a bus outside Wembley, while others outside King’s Cross station in the capital let off red and white smoke during the build-up.
British Transport Police said there had been “multiple cases of flares being set off within the vicinity of railway stations” in the capital and warned that “these incidents are offences and will be investigated”.
Inside the stadium team captain Harry Kane and the rest of the squad looked relaxed as they took to the pitch ahead of the match shortly after their arrival at the famous ground.
They had been cheered as they set off from the team hotel for what the nation hopes will be a date with destiny against Italy.
Supporters chanted “It’s coming home” as the squad boarded the team bus.
What a send-off! Thank you.
— England (@England) July 11, 2021
Victory for England would mark the men’s football team’s first major tournament win since 1966 World Cup success, which also took place at Wembley.
Excitement has been growing across the nation, with support for the Three Lions coming from the Queen, the Duke of Cambridge, the Prime Minister and even Hollywood star Tom Cruise.
Earlier team manager Gareth Southgate thanked fans for their “incredible support” throughout the tournament.
The boss has a message for YOU! ❤️🏴 pic.twitter.com/Q6gjgqZ0Pq
— England (@England) July 11, 2021
In a video message on the official England Football Twitter account, Southgate, who has been praised for his leadership of the team, said the fans’ support has given them a “huge lift”.
He said: “We hope that you’ve enjoyed watching us play.
“I’m very grateful to all of the players and the incredible staff I’ve got with me, that we’ve been able to get to our first final for 55 years.
“But of course we know now we’ve got to deliver for you, so we’ll be doing everything we can.”
The Queen paid tribute to the “spirit, commitment and pride” of the squad, while her grandson William, who is president of the Football Association, said it is “so exciting” to get to this point.
With the game on home turf, England’s fans are expected to outnumber those cheering for Italy among the 60,000-strong crowd.
Although tickets quickly sold out, a category A seat did became available around 2pm for 945 euro, around £807, and was snapped up almost immediately.
Lovers of both music and football enjoyed a live rendition of the anthemic Three Lions (Football’s Coming Home) at the 229 venue in central London, with World Cup winner Sir Geoff Hurst introducing comedians Frank Skinner and David Baddiel alongside The Lightning Seeds as an ecstatic crowd screamed and jumped along to the tune.
In her written message to the team, the Queen, who presented the Jules Rimet trophy to the 1966 World Cup winners, sent her good wishes “with the hope that history will record not only your success but also the spirit, commitment and pride with which you have conducted yourselves”.
Wow… what a send-off! 😍
— England (@England) July 10, 2021
In a video message William, who will be at the match, said: “I can’t really believe this is happening.
“So exciting and I just wish you the very best of luck.
“You bring out the very best of England and we are all behind you.
“The whole country is behind you. So, bring it home.”
Echoing that sentiment with just over an hour to go before the game, Boris Johnson tweeted: “This team has already made history and lifted the spirits of the country. Tonight, they can lift the trophy too. On behalf of the entire nation, good luck England and bring it home!”
Southgate has appealed to England’s supporters to “respect the opposition”, after booing could be heard during other teams’ anthems at previous matches.
The final, which is expected to attract a record television audience, is due to kick off at 8pm.