MOSCOW — Celebrations of England’s World Cup quarterfinal victory over Sweden spilled out of control on Saturday, as reports of criminal damage to an ambulance and a record number of distress calls emerged.
The incidents took place in England – while there were no initial reports of any trouble relating to the small band of traveling Three Lions supporters, following the side’s 2-0 victory in Samara.
In the minutes and hours that followed the triumph, joyous fans took to the streets in England to party, in anticipation of England’s first trip to a World Cup semifinal since 1990.
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While the majority of the reactions were good-natured, the London Ambulance Service revealed that revelers had damaged a vehicle while it was parked on a public street on a distress call, rendering it non-roadworthy.
“We are delighted with the result but this put a big dampener on celebrations for us,” the Service tweeted. “While our officer attended a call nearby, this car was damaged in (London’s) Borough High Street during celebrations after the game. It is now off the road to be repaired.”
Meanwhile, the West Midlands Police service recorded a dramatic increase in calls to its emergency 999 number – the English equivalent of 911.
“Yesterday we took the highest ever volume of 999 calls in our history,” it wrote in a tweet. “3,276 calls for emergency police assistance in just 24 hours. It is a mix of the sun, the World Cup and alcohol.”
Social media continued to reveal various antics, including a man who leaped from a double decker bus onto a glass bus shelter, which shattered under his weight.
After years of lamenting the behavior of its traveling fans, maybe now it is time for England to take more of an inward look. In general, England supporters at the tournament have been well-behaved. One incident involving a supporter sickeningly issuing a Nazi salute during the group stage at a Volgograd pub aside, organizers and Russian police have spoken positively of the group.
It is expected that a significant influx of England fans will attempt to reach Moscow and get tickets for Wednesday’s semifinal against Croatia. However, previous offenders of hooliganism have largely been kept away from Russia due to the implementation of the FAN-ID program, which allows for checks on the criminal history of anyone applying to attend matches.