The Euro 2020 final at Wembley could have been abandoned had police officers not intervened, the Met Police’s deputy assistant commissioner has said.
Crowds of ticketless fans pushed through security and fought with police to try and get into the England vs Italy game on Sunday.
Deputy assistant commissioner Jane Connors, who led the force’s response to the tournament, said she did "not accept that the policing operation failed" and she has "no doubt" that intervention by police stopped the disruption from escalating.
She said a day that was meant to be of "national pride" was "sadly tarnished by a minority of disorderly and violent fans who attempted to hijack the final for their own selfish personal gain".
"Ahead of the final, police commanders deployed one of the most significant and comprehensive policing plans the Met has ever committed to a football match of this scale," she added.
Soon after gates opened, the stewarding and outer security perimeter became overwhelmed and fans began pushing through security checks.
"I am in no doubt that their swift action prevented any further escalation," she said.
"I do not accept that the policing operation failed and I stand by the difficult decisions made by police officers and the Met’s public order commanders.
"Without their immediate intervention, it is possible that this game could have been abandoned".
Before kick-off, more than 100 ticketless fans broke through security barriers at Wembley with footage showing people jumping over walls and running to gain access to the stadium.
Some 19 officers were injured, including one who suffered a fractured hand and another who had a tooth knocked out, when they "confronted volatile crowds" in the capital after the game.
A total of 51 people were arrested across London, 26 of which were arrested at Wembley and 25 at following events in central London.
A post-incident investigation is taking place, which Ms Connors says she expects will result in further arrests in the "weeks and days ahead".
"The ugly scenes at Wembley on Sunday night will rightly be reviewed by the Football Association and by police.
"Where lessons can be learnt we will work with partners to ensure that future matches are not disrupted by a group of hooligans who are fuelled by alcohol," she added.
UEFA will investigate the events involving supporters inside and around Wembley during the Euro 2020 final.
The footballing authority has also opened disciplinary proceedings against the FA regarding other events during the match.