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Wednesday, November 17, 1999 Published at 18:22 GMT


Tight security for Wembley clash

A young fan displays his loyalties at Trafalgar Square

Police are adopting a "zero-tolerance" approach to hooligans as Scotland and England fans gather at Wembley for the Euro 2000 showdown.

Thousands of Scotland supporters have made the trip to London hoping to see their side beat the odds and overcome England's 2-0 lead from the first leg.

Battle of Britain
With more than 200 arrests for violence after Saturday's game in Glasgow, police say they will be taking a hard line on any signs of misbehaviour.

But as fans congregate at the world famous stadium, police say the mood has been generally good-humoured with little sign of trouble.

Thousands of Scotland fans, many decked out in tartan with their faces painted blue and white, gathered at Trafalgar Square, their traditional meeting place prior to games with the "auld enemy".

There was a brief skirmish when about 50 England fans ran towards 300 Scottish fans at the base of Nelson's Column.

Missiles flew back and forth, but police on foot rapidly formed a line, driving the English fans back down the Strand.

Among the first batch of Scotland fans to reach London for the big match was Scotland's First Minister Donald Dewar.


[ image: Michael Todd: Massive operation]
Michael Todd: Massive operation
He stepped off a packed overnight sleeper train on Wednesday morning along with die-hard fans dressed in kilts and ginger wigs.

Despite Scotland losing the first leg at Hampden, Mr Dewar confidently stated: "Our boys are still in with a chance."

Commenting on his trip south, he said: "The celebrations were very good-spirited on the train but they were also quiet and there was little disturbance."

Scottish soccer fans in London said their side could turn the tables.

"We'll beat you 3-0 at Wembley," sang 25 members of the Peebles Tartan Army as they posed for pictures at King's Cross.

The fans, clad in kilts and waving flags, said it would be difficult to overturn the deficit but it could be done.


[ image: Scotland fans have arrived in London in numbers]
Scotland fans have arrived in London in numbers
"Win or lose, we're going to have a good time," one said.

Another, farmer Kevin Wood, 31, said: "You have to be hopeful."

Another fan joked: "England are a very poor team. It's just that we were a wee bit worse."

Police presence is high at Wembley. Metropolitan Police deputy assistant commissioner Michael Todd said: "We have got a major security operation in place, public safety is of paramount importance to us.

"We have had problems, as everyone is aware with organised football hooligans.

"We are going to make it a zero-tolerance zone as far as they are concerned, we are just not prepared to let them flourish here."

About 250 convicted hooligans have been served exclusion orders banning them from attending the match, and police are working with "spotters" from forces around the country to identify suspected hooligans travelling to the match.



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In this section

Scotland squad guide

England squad guide

Great border skirmishes

Generals in the firing line

A history of fierce football rivalry

Fans in court over football trouble

Scotland v England

Lambert out of play-offs

Hendry's double jeopardy

Brown cautious over Hendry injury

The limitations of passion-play

England claim the prize

All quiet after Wembley showdown

Timeline: England v Scotland II

Hooligans face up to smart cameras

Cheers and tears for Scotland