Football: ugly play at big tournaments

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THE VIOLENT behaviour of football fans during this year's World Cup in France is part of a lengthy and dishonourable history of football hooliganism.

Two years ago, fighting broke out in London when England were knocked out of Euro 96 after a dramatic penalty shoot-out against the Germans at Wembley. Disappointed English fans took to the streets. There was rioting in many big cities and in Trafalgar Square, central London, six vehicles were set turned over and two were set alight.

In 1994, the World Cup was held in The United States. England had not qualified, and there were no reports of serious football violence.

In 1992, during the European Championships in Stockholm, Swedish and German hooligans rampaged through the city, burning flags and attacking passers-by. There were also running battles with police after England was knocked out and more than 170 British fans were arrested for public order offences.

In 1990, during the World Cup in Italy, 300 British supporters were deported and there were more than 60 arrests. Youths in British towns took to smashing shopfronts and wrecking cars.

In 1998, at the European Cup in Germany, there were over 800 arrests of English fans. The number included at least 19 British servicemen. There were running battles with riot police.

In 1986, the World Cup in Mexico was remarkable for its lack of trouble. Despite Maradona's controversial "hand of God" goal and the recent Falklands war, the English fans were restrained.

Local newspapers even carried articles praising their behaviour.