Hundreds, or possibly thousands, of fans forced their way into the stadium by rushing through security lines, getting through perimeter doors and tailgating paying spectators.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Jane Connors, the force’s lead for public order, said it had mounted “one of the most significant and comprehensive policing plans the Met has ever committed to a football match of this scale”.
She added: “I do not accept that the policing operation failed and I stand by the difficult decisions made by police officers and the Met’s public order commanders.
“Without their immediate intervention, it is possible that this game could have been abandoned.”
Conservative MP Julian Knight, chair of the parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, said the disorder could leave Britain’s bid for the 2030 World Cup “dead in the water”.
“We’ve got to make sure we never have anything like this happen again,” he told BBC Radio 4’s World at One. “The whole thing was an absolute shambles … it is absolutely staggering that this has been allowed to happen.”
Following reports of crushes inside the stadium and injuries to Harry Maguire’s father, Mr Knight raised concerns that people could have died or been seriously injured.
At a press briefing on 30 June, the day following England’s victory over Germany, Ms Connors said the majority of fans had been “really good-natured”.
She told journalists that police may have to disperse crowds in some circumstances, but that they would try to “get the balance right” before intervening and were “absolutely prepared” for the team to progress to the final stages of the Euros.
On Wednesday, she blamed a “minority of disorderly and violent fans who attempted to hijack the final for their own selfish personal gain” for disorder across London.
“Throughout the course of the day, police officers witnessed disgraceful behaviour both in central London and at Wembley, where a number of people pushed through security cordons or fought with police officers,” she added.
“I share the nation's anger at this behaviour. I want to reiterate the Met's commitment to identifying those responsible for the scenes both in Wembley and in central London, their actions will have consequences.”
On Monday, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor said that the Metropolitan Police had not expected so many people to arrive in Wembley without tickets.
“I don't think anybody was expecting large numbers of people to try and incur into the stadium,” he added.
However on Wednesday, Ms Connors said that “soon into the day it became clear that a high number of fans were arriving without tickets” and police commanders “recognised this could result in ticketless fans attempting to get into the stadium”.
She said security officials were updated at Wembley and public order officers were deployed to support stewards as a precaution.
“Soon after gates opened, the stewarding and outer security perimeter became overwhelmed and fans began pushing through security checks,” Ms Connors said.
“I want to praise the quick response by police commanders and those brave officers who confronted these subsequent scenes of disorder and violence. I am in no doubt that their swift action prevented any further escalation.”
Police have so far arrested 51 people over crimes committed in London related to the final, including 26 at Wembley.
Experts said police should have predicted the storming of the stadium, amid “high tensions” over the historic match and pent-up energy following coronavirus restrictions.
Dr Keith Still, a crowd scientist who formerly worked at Wembley, said the threat of an incursion would have been “top of my list” and did not come as a surprise.
“People wanted to be a part of that experience and Wembley is such a huge magnet,” he told The Independent.
“You plan for a major siege, you plan for tens of thousands of people turning up ticketless. You plan for the worst and hope for the best.”
Attendees have criticised security measures at Wembley, including a perceived lack of stewards, insufficient outer security cordons, the use of weak “Harris” fencing that could be pushed over easily, people without tickets forcing their way in behind paying guests and booked seats being aggressively taken by intruders.
Critics view the situation, which is subject to an investigation by the Football Association (FA), as particularly dangerous given the Covid pandemic and “substantial” terror threat level.
A spokesperson for the FA said it would carry out a full review and investigation into the events that took place at Wembley Stadium before and during the final.
”Security and stewarding numbers for the Uefa Euro 2020 final exceeded the requirements for the match and were greater than any other previous event at Wembley stadium,” he added.