Tag Archives: Bulgaria

England win but football loses

Its not often you come away from a tough away game with a 6-0 win and feel sad and disillusioned with the game. But for many last night, the sad scenes in the stands in Sofia overshadowed what was a very good England performance and threw the game into disrepute. 

There had been much speculation about the behaviour of the Bulgarian fans, after a number of incidents in recent years highlighted the large racist undertone within their fan base, and England captain Harry Kane had spoke of leading his teammates off the field if there was any sniff of racially motivated chanting or jeers.

From the get go England’s black stars were booed every time they touched the ball, attackers Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford as well as debutant centre back Tyrone Mings. But it wasn’t until the 28th minute play was put on hold with discussions taking place on the sideline, and a stadium announcement being made over the speakers warning fans the game would be stopped if this behaviour carried on.

However, this did not stop the chants, the boo’s and the abhorrent monkey noises being made, and the game was then stopped again in the 43rd minute, this time with Southgate talking with the referee before the game was again restarted.

Further racist incidents continued into the second half, caught on pitch-side microphones, but play was not stopped for a third time, which would have been crucial as UEFA’s three step racism protocol states if a match is stopped for a third time the match must be abandoned.

Further footage shows fans doing Nazi salutes and one fan holding up a “no respect” jumper. Debate has been rife over the best course of action in a situation such as this, is it best to walk from the pitch refusing to stand for this kind of abuse? Or is it best to play on and not let the racists win? England chose the latter last night, and with Rashford and Sterling both scoring, as well as Ross Barkley who’s grandfather is Nigerian, well and truly silenced the racist scum in the stands.

If this was not bad enough, Bulgaria’s own manager Krasimir Balakov seemingly defended his fans post match, claiming he did not hear any racist chants towards the England players and actually blamed the England fans for unacceptable behaviour. When the man at the top is seemingly just as bad as the racists in the stands, it is concerning for all involved and something UEFA must take a serious look at.

With all of the focus being firmly set on what happened off the pitch, it is important to remember just what the England players achieved in representing their country in such difficult circumstances, standing up to racism and doing our country proud in the process.

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England Boss Southgate Picks 25-man Squad For October Qualifiers

ENGLAND boss Gareth Southgate has named a 25-man squad for October’s Euro 2020 Qualifying games against Czech Republic and Bulgaria.

The Three Lions take on the Czech’s in Prague on Friday 11th October before playing Bulgaria three days later in Sofia.

Southgate has handed call-ups to Chelsea duo Tammy Abraham and Fikayo Tomori following their impressive campaigns at Stamford Bridge so far this season.

Striker Abraham has returned to the senior Three Lions squad for the first time in almost 2 years, when he featured for Southgate’s men at Wembley against both Germany and Brazil. Meanwhile, defender Tomori has earned his first senior call-up after impressing at U19, U20 and U21 levels.

England, who currently sit top of Group A in the Qualifiers after winning four from four, know that a victory in Prague could seal qualification for next summers Euros. However, boss Southgate and his squad will know that if they are to secure top spot in their group, they will need to complete a 100% record in the group campaign.

Squad in full for the Three Lions trips to Prague and Sofia:

Goalkeepers: Tom Heaton (Aston Villa), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Burnley)

Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Ben Chilwell (Leicester City), Joe Gomez (Liverpool), Michael Keane (Everton), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa), Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur), Fikayo Tomori (Chelsea), Kieran Tripper (Atletico Madrid)

Midfielders: Ross Barkley (Chelsea), Fabian Delph (Everton), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), James Maddison (Leicester City), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Declan Rice (West Ham United), Harry Winks (Tottenham Hotspur)

Strikers: Tammy Abraham (Chelsea), Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Callum Wilson (AFC Bournemouth)

There has been a few surprise inclusions in the squad, especially Fikayo Tomori and Tammy Abraham being involved despite their impressive starts in the Premier League. I would have thought Burnley’s James Tarkowski and Southampton’s Nathan Redmond would have been included despite their clubs positions in the table.

Let us at 24/7 Football know your thoughts on the latest Three Lions squad. Are you happy with the selection Gareth Southgate’s made?

Would you have included both Tomori and Abraham? Let us know in the comments below.