England fans failed to respond to the Football Association's desperate plea to cease their disruptive and destructive behaviour in France when more trouble reared its head in Lille.
The vast majority of British fans who have traveled to France for Euro 2016 are currently residing in Lille as England face Wales in nearby Lens on Thursday.
It was hoped that British allegiances would curb the violence that marred England's opening Euro 2016 game against Russia on Saturday.
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There were a number of clashes between England and Russia fans both before and after the game in Marseille but much of that has been attributed to organised Russian gangs, who actively sought violence.
However, England fans were met with more Russian fans in Lille as their team took on Slovakia in the other game in Group B in Lille on Wednesday. And it appears as though their very presence threatened a repeat of the scenes witnessed in Marseille's city centre.
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Indeed, there were reports of French police struggling to separate British fans from their Russian counterparts and used teargas to try to disperse large crowds. As the night went on and England fans grew louder, things threatened to boil over.
According to The Independent, the local riot police were preparing to use a water cannon in an attempt to stop a deteriorating situation in a local bar. England fans had reacted badly to a ban on alcohol and French police believed violence would continue to escalate if they did not deploy the cannon.
However, British police urged their French colleagues to hold off and 'spotters' were used to go into the pub and try to rescue the situation. The England fans were receptive to the warning and moved on. It was a move that saved the traveling supporters from potential harm.
And British police are being praised for their influence as the night wore on. Assistant Chief Constable Mark Roberts of the UK Football Policing Unit (UKFPU), told the same report that their presence was key to making sure no British people were arrested on the night.
“The cooperation with the French has been excellent and our officers have played a key role,” he said. “It has prevented an escalation of the situation and the intelligence of our officers has proved critical to a successful night.”
However, England fans were not wholly innocent and a minority were seen lighting flares in front of police while singing anti-Russian and anti-German songs. Those actions are likely to be condemned by the FA who were hoping for complete peace after the disruptive behaviour in Marseille that saw them warned by UEFA.
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