Soccer-starved fans stormed England’s Wembley Stadium ahead of Sunday’s highly-anticipated UEFA Euro 2020 finals match between the host country and Italy, according to reports and wild social-media video.
Ticketless supporters desperate to see the home team win its first major tournament since the 1966 World Cup pushed their way past security at the cavernous London stadium shortly before the match began, according to The Telegraph.
Other fans re-purposed crowd barriers as ladders to scale their way into the grounds, one video posted to Twitter showed, as police warned stadium security to beef up precautions at certain undermanned entrances, the report said.
“Febrile atmosphere at Wembley,” tweeted Telegraph soccer writer Sam Wallace, along with video showing fans streaming around the stadium. “This is near the main entrance to Club Wembley a few minutes ago where it looked like a group of fans broke through the security cordon. Stewards currently chasing people around.”
Another video showed hordes of fans overpowering security personnel and toppling metal cordons in a scene of utter chaos.
“Just seen another fan jump down a 20 foot+ wall to try to get into the inner cordon near the media entrance,” wrote Wallace in another tweet. “He’s telling the stewards escorting him away he had his ticket stolen.
“You don’t get this for a November World Cup qualifier against Bulgaria[.]”
The stadium storming came with tickets selling for thousands of pounds as England stood on the verge of soccer success not seen in more than a half-century.
In a statement, the Metropolitan Police said that they were working to eject those fans who had made it all the way into the stadium.
“Earlier this afternoon there was a breach of security at Wembley Stadium, which resulted in a small number of people getting into the stadium without a ticket,” the department said, according to The Telegraph. “We will also support action by Wembley Stadium officials to identify those without tickets and eject them.”
The mayhem unfolded after a day of heavy drinking among fans around the stadium, with discarded beer cans littering the streets nearby, according to The Telegraph.