Hooligans a blight on Euro
Wales triumphs in return to tourney; thugs battle police
PARIS — Fighting fans, tear gas and riot police returned to the streets of Marseille Saturday, before and after England’s 1-1 draw with Russia at the European soccer championship.
Clashes between England and Russia supporters even broke out inside the stadium at the final whistle, after Vasily Berezutsky headed the equalizer in stoppage time. England had taken a 73rd-minute lead through a superb free kick by Eric Dier.
The fighting at Stade Velodrome came on a third consecutive day of hooliganism in the Mediterranean port city. The latest incidents prompted police to use water cannons on the troublemakers.
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said one British citizen was “seriously injured” in the clashes.
“Once again, as over the last 30 years, an international football competition has been the scene of clashes between violent people claiming to be supporters of their national team,” Cazeneuve said in a statement.
UEFA, the governing body of European soccer, also condemned the fans, saying “people engaging in such violent acts have no place in football.” It will launch an investigation into the clashes.
The violence overshadowed a second day of the tournament that saw Wales make a winning return to tournament soccer after 58 years with a 2-1 victory over Slovakia. Switzerland opened with a 1- 0 win against Albania.
Two weeks after helping Real Madrid win the Champions League, Gareth Bale stamped his mark on Euro 2016 by scoring the opening goal for Wales with a swerving free kick in the 10th minute.
Ondrej Duda equalized for Slovakia just a minute after coming on as a substitute, but Hal RobsonKanu’s scrappy goal secured victory in the country’s first major championship match since the 1958 World Cup.
“We’ve got the three points, which is fantastic, but the important thing was the performance,” said Wales coach Chris Coleman, who highlighted Bale’s all-round performance.
“Everybody will look at his goal but some of his best moments were at the end of the game, his football intelligence… He understands what is needed
Fans fight in the stands Saturday following Russia and England’s 1-1 draw in Marseille, France.
A bloodied and shirtless man is taken into custody by police Saturday in downtown Marseille, France.