England Blanks Scotland 2-0


The first leg of soccer's "Battle of Britain" went to the English.

Paul Scholes scored twice as England beat Scotland 2-0 Saturday in the first leg of their playoff for a berth in next summer's European Championship.

"If you had sat down and you wanted to make a film of how it would go, then this would have been it," England coach Kevin Keegan said.

As the "Auld Enemies" renewed international soccer's oldest rivalry, one that dates to 1872, more than 160 fans were arrested for fighting and disorderly conduct before and after the game.

According to Strathclyde police, many of the arrests were in downtown Glasgow among fans who weren't at Hampden Park for the 109th meeting of England and Scotland. Afterwards, fans clashed in the center of town on their way to the train station.

While the 52,000 fans inside the stadium were carefully segregated and swapped insults rather than punches, several fans were injured, none severely, in clashes in the shopping areas in the center of Glasgow. Ten of those arrested were kept overnight.

On the way to the stadium, the 7,000 English fans were accompanied by hundreds of police, some on horseback and some with dogs and the huge police presence kept them away from the Scottish followers. It was the same on the way back and there were police officers virtually on every corner in the downtown area with even more at the central train station.

Police in England said that 111 soccer thugs had been served with court orders forcing them to report to their local police stations just before the game.

In Saturday's other three games, visiting Denmark beat Israel 5-0, Turkey tied 1-1 at Ireland and Slovenia rallied at home to beat Ukraine 2-1.

In exhibition games, Belgium won 3-1 at Italy, Greece beat Nigeria 2-0, Brazil played a scoreless tie at Spain, the Czech Republic gained a 1-1 tie at the Netherlands and France beat Croatia 3-0.

At Glasgow, Scholes scored in the 18th and 42nd minutes, giving England a commanding lead in the home-and-home, total-goals series, which finished Wednesday at Wembley.

England went ahead after Sol Campbell sent a long pass forward and Scholes took the ball on his chest. He slipped past defender Colin Hendry and, with Neil Sullivan slow to leave his line, slid the ball past the goalkeeper into the net.

Scholes got a yellow card for over-celebrating and will miss the second leg.

England, which leads the rivalry 45-40-24, got its second goal after Paul Ritchie needlessly fouled David Beckham wide on the right. Beckham's free kick found Scholes unmarked, and he powered home a header.

"Sloppy defending cost us the two goals," Scotland coach Craig Brown said.

The Scots almost got a goal a minute later when Billy Dodds curled a left-footed shot that beat goalkeeper David Seaman but hit the crossbar.

"It's a difficult task for us now," Hendry said. B>"I feel very sorry for the supporters."

©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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