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Police detain 31 ahead of England-Czech Republic match in Prague

An England fan is arrested in Prague ahead of the Three Lions' Euro 2020 qualifier against Czech Republic.
Czech police detained 31 people ahead of the Euro qualifying match between England and Czech Republic.

Czech police detained 31 people for rioting near Prague's historic Old Town Square on Friday ahead of the national team's 2-1 Euro 2020 win over England, the police said on their official Twitter account.

The authorities said they used force to detain a number of what they called "football hooligans," including 14 foreigners. Pictures showed broken glass shattered over cobblestone streets in the area which is normally filled with tourists.

Police spokesman Jan Danek said police intervened following incidents in two bars in Prague. Czech and England fans attacked each other in one bar, while fans were throwing glasses and attacked police in the other, Danek said.

Several thousand England supporters were expected in Prague for the Group A match with Czech authorities saying there would be a heavy police presence.

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Following the match, England manager Gareth Southgate said: "Of course, it's always disappointing and I think I've always spoken about how we would want everybody to conduct themselves.

"But equally, tonight, I think everybody would expect me to focus on getting my job right and make sure that I get the performance that we need from the team. So, I think some of these things are for other people to deal with. I've got to make sure the results and the performances are correct and we didn't do that tonight."

Mark Roberts, the national lead police officer for football in England, had asked UEFA to consider starting the match earlier in the day to avoid any problems with the late Friday kickoff.

"I wrote to UEFA asking them to reconsider the Friday night kick-off," said Roberts earlier in the week. "That's not something we've been able to do.

"I think it's unfortunate because you can foresee the risk. We'd much rather prevent a situation developing than try to manage it on the night and regret it afterwards."

Officials were also concerned ahead of the game due to the tens of thousands of Czechs expected to visit the city centre on Friday to pay their respects to pop singer Karel Gott, nicknamed the "Sinatra of the East," whose body was lying in state.

Information from Reuters was used in this report.

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