Football

Why the FA were right to give Poland so many tickets

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Eyebrows were raised when the Football Association allocated 18,000 Wembley tickets to their Polish counterparts - but the decision was justified last night.

By packing 18,000 travelling fans into the stadium, the FA created a superb atmosphere for a game which England simply needed to win.

The Three Lions knew they had to match Ukraine's result in San Marino if they were to qualify for next summer's World Cup.

A Ukraine victory was never in doubt, the game finishing 8-0, but Roy Hodgson's men got the result they needed courtesy of goals from Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard.

Before the game had even kicked-off it was clear the Polish fans weren't just on a sight-seeing tour as they created a heated atmosphere with their deafening chants, red-hot flares and sea of red scarfs.

In true English fashion, the home crowd responded to their rivals, belting out the national anthem with pride and passion.

As the game started the electric atmosphere had a clear effect on both teams as they sparked into life, producing high-tempo, end-to-end football more reminiscent of an old fashioned cup final than the usual nervy England performances of recent history.

As referee Damir Skomina called time on the game it was a wonder the 85,186 inside the national stadium had any voice left at all but somehow those of an English persuasion produced a collective roar. England had done it, they're going to Brazil.

Prior to the game, the FA had justified their decision to give the visitors many more than their required 10% allocation by citing the large Polish community in England, and stating that giving them more tickets in one allocated section of the ground decreased safety fears as thousands of away fans would have no doubt looked to purchase tickets in other sections of the ground.

One man who was in agreement with the FA's decision was Leighton Baines. The Everton defender, who supplied the cross for Rooney's opening goal, had told BBC Sport: "If away fans add to the atmosphere the home fans produce, it just adds to the occasion.

"To put a more positive spin on it you'd rather play in a stadium with a good atmosphere rather than it be a half-empty stadium."

Further justification for the decision arrived in the form of the relatively low number of arrests - just 36, with one of those being an England supporter.

The arrests, which The Metro report all took place after the game, were for a range of offences including the possession or use of flares, possession of drugs and pitch invasion. 


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England Football

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