Euro 2016: Pressure cranks up on Roy Hodgson, Russia & Uefa
Last updated on .From the section Football
Plenty of people are under serious pressure over the next 48 hours here in northern France.
Not least England manager Roy Hodgson, who desperately needs his team to secure a positive result against Wales in Lens on Thursday after the disappointment of failing to win their opening Euro 2016 game against Russia, despite dominating.
England have played eight matches in major tournaments since Hodgson took over. They have won twice - the last time during the group stages of Euro 2012.
Lose against Wales and the 68-year-old will have one more game to save his job.
The local authorities are also under pressure.
Policing - already stretched because of the terror threat in France - has been heavily criticised and they seemed overwhelmed in Marseille.
Especially after none of the 150 hardcore "hyper-violent" Russian hooligans who were blamed for most of the violence at the weekend were arrested.
Remember, last month's French Cup final at the Stade de France also descended into chaos when fans managed to smuggle in fireworks, smoke bombs and bottles.
That hardly inspired confidence.
Then there is the English Football Association, which has been told Hodgson's team could be expelled from Euro 2016 if supporters are involved in any more trouble.
After the fresh disorder on Wednesday overnight into Thursday in Lille, the FA are now skating on thin ice. There is probably enough uncertainty surrounding the events - and the tactics of the police - to spare England the humiliation of expulsion for now.
But the numbers of injuries and arrests certainly do not look good. And that will be of huge concern after the FA urged fans to stay out of trouble.
FA chairman Greg Dyke was right when he told Uefa that England fans were not to blame for the sickening scenes inside the Stade Velodrome on Saturday.
But, despite football-related arrests in English football decreasing by 18% in the most recent figures and banning orders preventing known thugs from travelling to tournaments, there is a sense the FA could still be tougher.
According to Uefa, neither the FA nor the Russian Football Union raised any issue when the draw pitted the two countries against each other in Marseille.
The FA needs to explain why not.
England fans may have largely been the victims on the streets of Marseille, but, all too often, a minority still asks for trouble, still chants offensive songs, still trashes town squares, still intimidates locals and still brings embarrassment to English football.
That is why some would have liked Hodgson and captain Wayne Rooney to have condemned such boorish behaviour during their video appeal earlier this week.
Their message to fans, urging them to be respectful, was well-intentioned, but the words could perhaps have been firmer.
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Russia, of course, are also under pressure - having been told they will be kicked out of Euro 2016 if there is any repeat of events at the Stade Velodrome.
Worryingly, that did not seem to bother the Russian 'ultras' who appear to have attacked England and Wales fans in Lille on Wednesday, just hours after Uefa issued its warning.
It seems unlikely the threat of suspension will concern the thugs.
Those who, with a twisted sense of pride, filmed themselves during the rampage before posting the footage on social media.
Who attend hooligan training camps and wear gum shields.
Who traumatised innocent families when they attacked the England section after the full-time whistle on Saturday.
Whose sports minister is Vitaly Mutko, filmed celebrating with the Russian fans just after a dangerous stampede had narrowly been avoided in the south stand.
The participation of Russian athletes at the Rio Olympics already hangs in the balance following allegations of state-sponsored doping.
Being kicked out of the second biggest football tournament in the world would be an even graver humiliation for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
It would raise even more doubts over the country's suitability to host the 2018 World Cup, and would also heighten geo-political tensions.
But, after Russia were sanctioned by Uefa for hooliganism at Euro 2012, there is very little sympathy left.
Finally, tournament organiser Uefa is under scrutiny.
For failing to take action when the draw threw up the obviously high-risk pairing of Russia v England, on a Saturday evening, in a city where racial tension runs high, and where England fans have particular notoriety after their antics the last time the team played there.
For shrugging its shoulders when the draw meant an inevitable convergence of Russian and British fans in Lille this week.
For allowing Lens, the smallest host city, to stage the England v Wales game.
And for being responsible for security inside the Stade Velodrome, where fan segregation and stewarding was sub-standard.
This is the same Uefa that staged this season's Europa League final at Basel's St Jakob Park, ignoring warnings about the risk of ticket chaos with such a small venue.
The same Uefa whose acting president is Angel Villar Llona, who was fined and warned by world football's governing body for failing to co-operate with an investigation into the bidding for the 2018 World Cup.
A man who, according to Fifa's ethics committee, "failed to behave in accordance with the general rules of conduct applicable to football officials".
And who was put in charge of the 2018 World Cup by Fifa.
The risk of a potential conflict of interest, should a decision have to be made about Russia's involvement in Euro 2016, is obvious.
In warning Russia its team faced expulsion from Euro 2016 if fans caused any more trouble, Uefa deserves credit for leaving itself no wriggle room.
It a strong and decisive message that had to be taken. But football needs to reflect on whether all this could have been avoided.