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Around 20,000 Scots have travelled to London ahead of England vs Scotland Euro 2020 match
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon urges fans not to be 'racist' following video emerges of anti-English songs
All you need to know: How to watch England vs Scotland - kick-off time, TV channel and prediction
Nicola Sturgeon has urged thousands of Scotland fans who have descended on London not to be “racist” after footage emerged of supporters singing anti-English songs.
The First Minister condemned the actions of some members of the so-called Tartan Army, after videos were shared on social media of Scots chanting that they "hate the f------ English" on the streets of the capital.
It is estimated that 20,000-plus Scots have travelled to London ahead of tonight’s England vs Scotland Euro 2020 clash at Wembley.
Despite repeated warnings not to travel to London without a ticket, thousands ignored the advice ahead of what is seen as Scotland's most important football fixture since they last faced England in the finals of a major tournament in 1996.
Scotland fans, who have gathered in locations close to Hyde Park and Leicester Square, have so far largely been rowdy but well behaved, with only two arrests reported on Thursday night.
However, some videos have surfaced on social media of supporters singing songs such as “if you hate the f------ English clap your hands.”
Speaking more than 300 miles away in Edinburgh, Ms Sturgeon said she condemned “unreservedly” any anti-English singing and urged members of the Tartan Army to be good “ambassadors” for Scotland while in London.
"I would abhor and condemn unreservedly any anti-English chants, just as we, as Scots, would not want to hear that coming from fans of any other country about us,” she said.
"Racism, xenophobia, anything like that, whether it's in a football context, or in life generally, is not to be tolerated.
"Football rivalry is something that many, many people enjoy, but that should never, ever translate into racism, anti-English sentiment in any way shape or form.”
Injury boost for Belgium
Captain Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne and Axel Witsel will all start Belgium's next match against Finland in St Petersburg on Monday, coach Roberto Martinez said.
The trio all battled with injury ahead of the tournament but showed their value to Belgium's cause in Thursday's 2-1 win over Denmark, coming on to turn around the team’s fortunes after Belgium had trailed at half-time in Copenhagen.
"It was essential they could be there to finish the game and now I feel Eden, Axel and Kevin will start against Finland because we need to see how they are and how long they can play and it's an opportunity for us to stretch their match fitness to a maximum level," Martinez said.
Good news: Christian Eriksen is back at home
Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen has been discharged from hospital after a successful operation.
One Scot who will be staying in London it seems
The scene in Leicester Square
The pull of M&M's World and Angus Steakhouse has simply proved too strong for Scotland fans.
On BBC right now
Gary Lineker, Alan Shearer and Micah Richards are ranking their top 10 European Championship goals. We have just seen Paul Gascoigne's against Scotland at Wembley in Euro '96.
Little known strike, not really shown much, especially not recently...
It's handover time - part 2
That's all from me folks. My colleague Daniel Zeqiri will be taking over now.
Enjoy the game!
Before the main course at 8pm, we do have Croatia vs Czech Republic at 5pm.
And you can follow that here with my colleague Luke Slater.
Lively Leicester Square
Scotland fans arriving at Wembley
Two men were arrested last night in Metropolitan Police. A 25-year-old man was arrested for indecent exposure in Hyde Park. He was taken into police custody before being cautioned and released.
Another man was arrested for the attempted theft of a police officer’s hat, assault with intent of avoiding arrest and assault of emergency worker. He was taken to a south London police station where he currently remains
There's been a goal between Sweden and Slovakia. Click here to join coverage by my colleague Jake Goodwill.
Keeping busy in England camp
Mason Mount and his England team mates have Lando Norris in their sights after the McLaren Formula One driver's brother set up racing simulators at their Euro 2020 training camp.
Norris told reporters at the French Grand Prix at Le Castellet that some of the players had messaged to say they were trying to beat his benchmark lap of Brands Hatch.
"I know some of them have been on the simulator trying to beat one of my lap times that I did at Brands. I don't think any of them have yet. I know Mason said he was trying hard to beat me," he said.
Not long to go now
Hello there, less than five hours till kick off. The rain has made the wait for the game drag on but we are getting closer.
And to whet the appetite, please enjoy the video below...
It's handover time
... with Uche Amako taking charge before we segue to live coverage of the match.
Enjoy the game! Stay safe! Please drink responsibly!
A cool stat
Sturgeon calls on Tartan Army 'to do Scotland proud'
Despite Glasgow opening its fan zone for 6,000 supporters, Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland's First Minister, refused to criticise London for failing to offer any facilities for the Tartan Army.
However, she did condemn videos on social media of Scotland fans singing anti-English chants. "I would abhor and condemn unreservedly any anti-English chants, just as we, as Scots, would not want to hear that coming from fans of any other country about us," she said.
"Racism, xenophobia, anything like that, whether it's in a football context, or in life generally, is not to be tolerated. The Scotland-England football rivalry is one of the oldest in the world. We'll all be really passionate about that much tonight."
Amid a highly charged atmosphere, the FA has also appealed for calm around Scotland joining England in taking the knee against racism. Scotland fans had declined to make the gesture in other matches, but Sturgeon said: "I think one of the special moments of it will be before the kick off when players from both teams unite in solidarity against racism.
"Football rivalry is something that many, many people enjoy, but that should never, ever translate into racism [or] anti-English sentiment in any way, shape or form.
"The Tartan Army has got a brilliant reputation across the world for being one of the friendliest travelling support. To the Tartan Army... make sure you behave in a way that does Scotland proud, just as we want the team to do Scotland proud."
Meanwhile, in the Wales camp
Wales defender Connor Roberts has said they have the firepower to cause major problems for Italy and has warned the tournament's standout team that they have not yet faced anyone like Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey.
Wales travel to Rome on Sunday knowing that a victory over Italy would take them top of Group A and guarantee a last-16 knockout match at Wembley.
Italy will be heavy favourites, though, after a hugely impressive start to the competition. Roberto Mancini's side have won 3-0 against both Turkey and Switzerland.
A point for Wales would secure second place in the group and book a last-16 tie in Amsterdam against Belgium, Denmark, Russia or Finland.
But Roberts said they plan to attack the Italians rather than try to defend their way to a draw. "Italy are really good and they have won comfortably in their first two games, but have they come up against Bale and Ramsey when they are playing well? 'No' is the answer to that," said Roberts.
"If we can get them on the ball and get Dan James motoring up and down the wing, and maybe me on the other side, then we could cause them problems. We will create chances and that's the plan."
Bale and Ramsey starred in the thrilling victory over Turkey on Wednesday, when Roberts struck a late second in Baku. "I would say these are the things you dream of, but I never thought I would ever be here so I never dreamed of it," said Roberts.
If Wales can top the group and book their place at Wembley, it raises the prospect of thousands of their fans being able to watch the team. Only a few hundred were able to make the trip to Azerbaijan to watch their first two matches.
"Hopefully we can get as far in the competition as possible," said Roberts. "Who knows, maybe we can get more and more fans to the games to support us.
"I think being here [in Baku] compared to Scotland, England and most teams, they have all been close to home and have been able to get fans there, while we have been halfway around the world and had only a couple of fans because it's so hard for them to get here.
"Well done to the couple of hundred or thousand who were there the other night. It is something that they will cherish forever, [there were] only a small handful and they were there on one of the good nights."
Absence of fan zones could be problematic
London's Leicester Square has undergone a tartan takeover today as thousands of ticketless Scottish fans gathered for a raucous party in torrential rain – with some resigned to watching the game later on their mobile phones.
In the absence of any dedicated fan zones, many among the 20,000-plus influx of supporters said they had been unable to book spots in oversubscribed nearby pubs. "If we have to watch it on the phone, so be it," said Craig Gallagher, 51, from Glasgow, who travelled down at 5pm last night and had been out all night.
Gallagher and thousands of others had decamped from Hyde Park to Irving St, just off Leicester Square, at around 11.30am after torrential rain threatened to turn their initial meeting point into a mud bath. Instead, thousands gathered at the central landmark, as well as pubs in Soho and around Piccadilly Circus, which were all dedicated dispersal zones for Scotland Yard following a court application on Friday afternoon.
Amid the deluge of rain, there was little sign of trouble, with Scotland fans vastly outnumbering the English – and producing a cacophony of noise despite their soggy tartan.
Lewis Adam, 25, a self-employed carpet-fitter from Dundee, was also among supporters to abandon plans to gather at Hyde Park. Speaking to Telegraph Sport with his tartan-clad friends on the bus to Leicester Square, he said: "It is just too wet and muddy at Hyde Park. It's hard to judge, but the support seems massive down here – there must be 20 to 40,000 thousand. It was always going to be like this and I just wish the authorities had given us some sort of area to congregate."
Adam and his friends, who had spent just an hour in their hotel beds, were among the lucky ones to have a central London pub booked for the game. "We booked the pub via a pal who lives down here," he added. "We got that done before booking the train because that was always going to be the tough bit."
There is police concern over chaos for the reduced number of pubs showing matches later. Professor John Ashton, the former director of public health for the north-west, told Telegraph Sport that authorities were naive not to give Scotland an area to congregate – as it was clear they were going to ignore pleas not to travel.
"Was there some way of meeting them halfway by being tough but providing some facility for them to congregate in manageable-sized groups in Hyde Park, in Regent's Park?" he asked. Police and politicians, he said, failed to "do a bit of imaginative thinking."
Sweden in action against Slovakia
... and you can follow all the action right here on our live blog.
Slovakia are currently top of Group E, having won their tournament opener against Poland. Sweden are second after an impressive rearguard action saw them secure a 0-0 draw against Spain last time out.
Uri Geller switches sides
England fans who are into the paranormal should look away now.
After claiming that he used his psychic powers to make Gary McAllister miss a penalty against England at Euro '96, Uri Geller has now switched his allegiance to Scotland.
Will that change the outcome of tonight's game? It's probably best to retain a degree of scepticism.
Someone was bound to bring it up
... if a tree falls in the forest and nobody is around to hear it, does it make a sound?
If nobody mentions Gazza's dentist's chair celebration at Euro '96, are England really playing Scotland? Two of the great philosophical questions of our age, no doubt.
It's tipping it down out there
... not that these Tartan Army veterans are remotely bothered.
Scotland fans still rolling into London
King's Cross station remains the epicentre of Scotland fandom at the moment, though supporters are likely to disperse – either in the direction of Wembley or the nearest pub with a television – as we get closer to kick off.
England's rivalry with Scotland in pictures
"The goalposts were scaled, the crossbar broken and large pieces of the pitch were transplanted home to Scotland as enduring souvenirs. There were 289 arrests and fines of £100 were dished out for disorderly behaviour at Bow Street Magistrates on the Monday for their part in what the papers called 'The Battle of Wembley'. In truth it was more of an incursion than a stramash, by thousands of Bay City Rollers lookalikes buzzing on Tartan Special and the illicit joy of trespass..."
Want to read more about England's famous meeting with Scotland in 1977, among other classic encounters? Here's Rob Bagchi with 10 photos which tell the story of a 149-year-old footballing rivalry.
Clarke says it will be 'really easy' to motivate players
Asked about the magnitude of tonight's game in his pre-match press conference, Clarke admitted that Scotland need no extra incentive to beat England.
"It's a game, obviously, with a lot of historical significance," he said. "It's a game that the players all want to play in and what we have to do is make sure that we're prepared properly for it.
"In terms of the team talk, the team talk really is to go through the tactical side of the game [and] the organisational side of the game. With the actual nuts and bolts of getting the players up for the match, it's going to be really easy.
"We know it's a big game, we know we need to get something from the game and that's what we aim to do."
Scotland fan update
Here at Victoria underground a large amount of Scottish fans – cans in hand, faux Burberry bucket hats on head, shorts to the knees – have been chanting on the platform.
"Everywhere we go, Scotland get battered," is the refrain. You can't help but admire the honesty.
Tierney fit to face England
In a positive development for Scotland manager Steve Clarke, Arsenal defender Kieran Tierney will be available for selection this evening after missing the 2-0 defeat to the Czech Republic with a calf problem.
"It's good news for Kieran, good news for us and the Scottish supporters," said Clarke, who tends to play Tierney as a left-sided central defender in a back three.
"Hopefully we can back all that up with a good result. He has trained fully the last two days, so he is available for the whole game."
... here's England's motivational pre-match montage, which is also good.
Goals, goals, goals
Here's something to get Scotland fans in the mood. Everyone else can just enjoy the seventies hairstyles on show.
What did we tell you?
Do Baccara get royalties every time Scotland fans belt this one out? Because, if so, they'll be raking it in.
Meanwhile, Scotland fans still having fun
Good vibes only here.
Met Police secure dispersal order
Around 20,000 ticketless Tartan Army fans have now descended on London for the biggest game between the home nations in 25 years.
Many were drinking at landmarks in the capital through the night, with one Scottish fan led away by police on Thursday evening after taking all his clothes off as celebrations got out of hand.
However, police say scenes so far have been largely peaceful. Most have been gathering in the Hyde Park and Leicester Square areas, but the Scotland Yard press office had not been alerted to any significant incidents as of 10am on Friday.
Police efforts to keep things calm today are aided by driving rain forecast all afternoon, and Westminster officers patrolling the area covering Trafalgar Square and Soho have secured a dispersal order to keep potential troublemakers at bay.
Officers tweeted that "due to the high profile" match "and the anticipated anti-social behaviour this may bring... a section 35 dispersal authority has been implemented". A Scotland Yard spokesman confirmed this gave officers increased powers to break up crowds if they become overly rowdy.
Officers said there was no current evidence to suggest a fight which had left one man in a critical condition on Little Newport Street, at the junction with Charing Cross Road, was football-related violence. "There have been no arrests and enquiries continue," the Met Police added.
Just 2,800 seats from a reduced 22,500 capacity were sold officially to Scotland for the European Championship group match, but more are expected inside the stadium after a last-minute scramble via online touts.
There'll be laughs, there'll be anecdotes and, while we can't promise tears, it's not out of the question.
Murray says Scotland have 'got a chance'
Tennis star Andy Murray has said that Scotland have "got a chance" of progressing to the knockout rounds of Euro 2020.
Speaking before the Scots lost their opening game against the Czech Republic, he told Amazon Prime: "I think they've got a chance of getting through the group. It won't be easy as it's a pretty strong group.
"We think England and Croatia will be favourites to get through it, but I think they've got a chance of getting out the groups."
Murray also revealed his favourite Scottish footballer. "It's got to be Andy Robertson, I did something with him during the pandemic over Zoom and he seemed lovely," he said.
"I just love watching him play. He's got unbelievable energy, works really hard and also seems very humble so I'd take him."
Uefa in talks with government
With Euro 2020's knockout rounds set to kick off during the last weekend in June, Uefa have issued a statement about ongoing negotiations with the government over Covid restrictions on travelling fans.
"Uefa is delighted that the capacity at Wembley will go up to at least 50 per cent for the knockout round matches," it read.
"At the moment, we are in discussions with the local authorities to try to allow fans of the participating teams to attend the matches, using a strict testing and bubble concept that would mean their stay in the UK would be less than 24 hours and their movements would be restricted to approved transport and venues only.
"We understand the pressures that the Government face and hope to be able to reach a satisfactory conclusion of our discussions on the matter.
"There is always a contingency plan but we are confident that the final week will be held in London."
Want to read more about the Euro 2020 Coke wars?
... we've got all the latest on players rising up in rebellion against sponsors (or not) right here.
Ronaldo's Coca-Cola feud rumbles on
Cristiano Ronaldo will not take part in Portugal's latest European Championship press conference on Thursday – avoiding him being forced to sit behind more bottles of Coca-Cola.
Telegraph Sport has been told that, despite press conferences on the eve of matches tending to feature team captains, Ruben Dias will instead field questions ahead of his country's game against Germany.
Ronaldo also skipped the official man-of-the-match press conference after Portugal's 3-0 win over Hungary on Tuesday, instead conducting interviews in a mixed-zone environment away from Coke bottles.
On Thursday, Gareth Southgate and Harry Kane defended Coca-Cola's involvement in football as the England manager and captain refused to join the Ronaldo-led protest against the drink on health grounds.
Ronaldo started a trend on Monday when he removed two Coke bottles from view during a press conference and made clear people should be drinking "agua" (water).
Yes Sir, I Can Boogie
We're going to be hearing a lot of Baccara's 1977 disco hit over the next 24 hours.
Leicester Square antics
If you could distil the feeling of an impending hangover into one photograph, this would be it.
There's always one
It's great to see everyone having fun, but clothes are still mandatory.
Scenes at King's Cross last night
Nothing brightens up the miserable commute home like several hundred Scotland fans having a wild one.
Tartan Army on the march
... with Scotland fans arriving in London in droves ahead of tonight's game at Wembley.
Southgate not fixated on Scotland rivalry
While England meeting Scotland at a major tournament has inevitably brought up talk of the Auld Enemy and all the rest of it, Gareth Southgate isn't interested in playing up the historical significance of the fixture.
When it was put to him in his pre-match press conference that, given there have only been four meetings between the two sides since the turn of the millennium, the rivalry might not mean as much for his younger players, Southgate agreed.
"I think it's a really good point. We, of course, know that we've got to compete, because otherwise you can get overrun in any game. But our focus has been on solving the tactical problems that Scotland pose with the way that they play, they way they defend [and] the way they attack.
"Our focus has got to be on our performance getting better with every game that we play. Of course, for the fans – and for us – it's a big occasion, but it's another opportunity for three points and our objective is qualification [for the round of 16], so that's what we've got to focus on.
"I think in the past we've done that well. I think we did that very well on Sunday [against Croatia], Sunday was a big occasion for everybody and with the heat as well I thought we dealt with that really, really well.
"Every game [the younger members of the squad] play for England means a lot to them, but I think younger generations probably have a different view on those old rivalries.
"Of course, the history of the games... when we were growing up, the home internationals were among the few games you saw live at the end of the season. England playing Scotland every year was a massive occasion.
"Now it's played less regularly. Obviously lots of the players are friends within their clubs, though we know the rivalry.
"I certainly haven't felt the need to build that up with the players. I want them to approach it like any other game of football and focus on playing well, I don't think we need to emphasise the other part too much."
Kane won't be distracted by Tottenham turmoil
Kane has also warned Scotland and the rest of England's opponents that he believes he is a better player now than in 2018, when he won the Golden Boot at the World Cup in Russia.
Kane told Tottenham ahead of this tournament that he wanted to leave, while the club switched manager targets from Paulo Fonseca to Gennaro Gattuso on the eve of Friday night's game against Scotland. The striker insists that nothing is diverting him from trying to make the most of a situation that he admits will probably never come around in his career again, with England effectively playing in a home tournament.
"It's very rare to have a home tournament and, for me personally, this is as close as it's going to get," Kane said. "We've got to try to use that to our advantage as much as possible. That's all I'm focused on.
"It's obviously a massive tournament and I know how much it means to the country. We know we haven't won a major trophy for a long time, so to try to achieve that with a lot of the games at Wembley, our home stadium, would be incredible.
"That's all I'm focused on, that's all the team are focused on, and we'll do our very best to, as a first step, qualify and then, hopefully, go as far as possible after that."
Kane's form has come under scrutiny following England's opening victory over Croatia, in which he did not score. But, having won the Premier League's Golden Boot again this season, the 27-year-old believes he is better than ever.
Asked if he was a better player now than in 2018, Kane said: "I think so. I've got a lot more experience, my game understanding is a lot better and I feel like I've got better at knowing when to drop deep, when to run in behind and using that to my advantage.
"It's not so easy for defenders – sometimes they don't know whether to come all the way or stay back and you saw that this season, at club level, it worked pretty well.
"I'm a player who takes each game differently. I'll assess the game as I'm playing and see what's going to work best for the team and how I can help the team the most.
"But, for sure, over the past few years I've definitely become a better player and I'll hopefully continue to do that over the next three years as well."
Kane also claimed he would swap all of his Golden Boot awards and personal accolades to triumph in this tournament. "I'd trade them in to win the Euros this summer, of course," he said. "I've said before that winning a team trophy, especially for our nation, would probably be the greatest highlight in my career."