You cant cross the street in London today, or youre bumping into a few kilts or bagpipes. Although London Mayor Sadiq Khan made an urgent appeal to Scottish fans to shun the capital and look at the loaded derby with England in Scotland, an estimated 20,000 Scots have travelled to London.
That while only 2600 have a ticket for the game at Wembley. For more Scots there was no place in the countrys largest stadium, which will occupy 22,500 out of 90,000 seats tonight.
But the need to attend this cracker in the lions den was too big for all those Scots who came to London without a ticket. For many of them, this is the undisputed highlight of this European Championship. Playing against England is much more than an eleven to eleven game. The game is full of tension, history and emotion. “That whole European Championship could be stolen if we dont lose to England,” says a Scottish fan at Wembley.
The independence discussion also hangs like a Damocles sword above the game. Less than six weeks ago, a majority of Scots voted in regional elections for parties seeking to enforce a new independence referendum. The big Independence Party SNP was short of one seat for an absolute majority.
The British dislike under Boris Johnson has only grown since the Brexit voice. Rarely was a British Prime Minister as unpopular as Johnson. Two thirds of the Scots voted against leaving the EU, but saw how they have been bragged with a very hard Brexit in recent years under Johnsons leadership. “That man is just lying, we shouldnt have anything from him,” another fan says.
“Although we need to park politically for tonight,” another says. “This is about sporting rivalry, this is about wanting to be the best. I was born in 2000. In my life, Scotland and England have never played against each other at such a big tournament. The last time was 1996, and if they win tonight, its the best moment of my life.”
Restricted audience in pubs
Last night, the Scots took over the famous Leicester Square, Londons Leidseplein. Cloaked in kilts, Scottish flags and bagpipes, they made it a big party.
A concern for the London authorities, as pubs are only allowed to admit people and the few fan zones in the city are not meant for the Tartan Army, as the Scottish legions nickname goes. That will cause thousands of Scots to be desperately looking for a place to watch this clash of clashes until the last minute.