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Sunday, June 12, 2016

Three straight days of soccer fan violence in Marseille, France-AP














Above image caption: "Fans clashed with one another and the police in Marseille on Saturday. By the Associated Press on Publish Date June 11, 2016. Photo by Guillaume Horcajuelo/European Pressphoto Agency." 
 
6/11/16, "Russia and England Fans Clash Repeatedly at European Championships," AP via NY Times

"Fights broke out Saturday before and soon after Russia earned a 1-1 draw against England with a stoppage-time goal in a Group B match at the European Championships in Marseille, France.

Fans of the two teams rioted before the game in Marseille’s Old Port district and briefly outside the nearby Stade Vélodrome in a third straight day of violence in the city. The police fired tear gas and water cannons at the fighting fans.

















Above image caption: "Russia backers, left, fighting with an England fan. Credit Peter Powell/European Pressphoto Agency"
 
The clashes started again moments after the final whistle when a large group of Russia fans in a stand behind one of the goals advanced on England supporters in a neighboring area, throwing objects and breaking through a line of stewards. England fans ran for the exits in panic.

UEFA, the governing body overseeing European soccer, will open disciplinary proceedings over the violence in Marseille, with Russia facing a stronger punishment after the events inside the stadium.

Vasily Berezutsky scored Russia’s equalizer with a looping header in the second minute of injury time, canceling out an Eric Dier goal from a free kick in the 73rd.

“It’s disappointing because we were so close to an important and big win in our first game,” said Dier, a defensive midfielder.

England failed to finish any of a flurry of chances in a dominant first-half performance and faded until Dier put it ahead.

However, what happened during the match was overshadowed by the fan violence. The police tried, largely unsuccessfully, to rein in the violence, which the authorities said had left at least five people injured. Some fans walked through the city bare-chested and with blood dripping from head wounds.

About two hours before the game, the police used water cannons on some fans at the Old Port. About an hour later, the police fired tear gas at a group of about 200 people heading from the Old Port area to Stade Vélodrome.

The trouble had largely died down by the time the match started, but it reignited just as the game finished. Shortly before the final whistle, Russian fans appeared to have seized a power cable running around the front of a stand before a group attacked nearby English supporters.

As England fans fled, Russia fans gave chase, snatching English flags that had been on display. Large numbers of stewards struggled to restore order.

In other games at the European Championships, Wales beat Slovakia, 2-1, in a Group B match in Bordeaux, France, and Switzerland defeated 10-man Albania, 1-0, in a Group A match in Lens, France.

Gareth Bale, who about two weeks ago won the Champions League with Real Madrid for the second time in three seasons, played a pivotal role as Wales made a triumphant return to a major competition after a 58-year absence. He put Wales ahead in the 10th minute with a curling free kick and was the driving force behind much of his team’s attack.

Still, although Bale was the focus of much of Slovakia’s planning, it was a substitute — Hal Robson-Kanu — who secured Wales’s victory. A Robson-Kanu shot in the 81st minute restored Wales’s lead after another substitute, Ondrej Duda, had equalized for Slovakia in the 61st.

Switzerland earned its win behind an early goal by defender Fabian Schär. Although it dominated for most of the game, Switzerland failed to increase its lead after Lorik Cana, the Albania captain, was sent off in the 37th minute following a second yellow card.

CONSOLATION FOR COSTA RICA Costa Rica benefited from an own goal by Colombia in a 3-2 upset victory in Houston that wrapped up Group A play in the Copa América.

Colombia had already advanced, having earned a berth in the quarterfinals with a win over Paraguay on Tuesday, and Costa Rica was eliminated from contention with the United States’ 1-0 victory over Paraguay earlier Saturday.

Still, this result made Colombia’s path in the tournament more difficult: The team will now probably have to face Brazil. Colombia could have drawn Ecuador or Peru with a win.

Playing in front of a crowd that overwhelmingly favored Colombia, Costa Rica took a 1-0 lead in the second minute with a 20-yard strike from Johan Venegas. The goal was the team’s first in Copa América play since it beat Bolivia, 2-0, in 2011."




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