England and Scots in World Cup finals

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The Independent Online
England are in the World Cup finals in France next year after a goalless draw with Italy here last night. The game was overshadowed by clashes in the stands between Italian riot police and English fans that erupted at kick-off and continued for most of the first half.

Scotland are also through to the finals after beating Latvia earlier at Celtic Park. Goals from Kevin Gallacher just before half-time and Gordon Durie in the 80th minute left Scotland in second place in Group Four. They went through as best-placed runners-up after Spain beat the Faroe Islands in Madrid.

Following their qualification, England's World Cup odds have been cut from 10-1 to 7-1, joint third favourites with Germany by William Hill, who make Brazil 7-2 favourites, with France 6-1 second favourites. Scotland are 66-1.

The situation on the pitch in Rome's Olympic Stadium, where England's captain, Paul Ince, bloodied from a head wound, resisted ceaseless Italian attacks, was mirrored in the stands. Time and again, lines of blue-helmeted Italian riot police pushed against the English fans and weighed into them with batons.

According to the Italian authorities, the fans were disorderly, drunk and looking to pick a fight. According to the English fans, a hostile and intransigent police force had prevented them reaching their seats until well after kick-off. One policeman was in hospital with head injuries and at least five English fans were treated for cuts, bruises and eye injuries.

The atmosphere in Rome had steadily soured all day yesterday. After isolated incidents, there were full-blown clashes around the Spanish Steps and the nearby Piazza del Popolo, forcing riot police to intervene and arrest 15 people of both nationalities.

Full match reports, Sport

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