England reports alleged racism after 4-0 win in Hungary
England’s players were jeered for taking a knee, pelted with plastic cups after goals and then targeted with alleged racist chants.
They still weathered the hostile atmosphere to earn a 4-0 win over Hungary in a World Cup qualifier on Thursday in the team’s first game since losing the European Championship final.
Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane and Harry Maguire scored in a 14-minute flurry and Declan Rice added a fourth second-half goal for a result that will be overshadowed by what England’s players were subjected to.
Pitchside reporters for domestic broadcasters ITV and Sky Sports said they saw and heard individuals among the Hungary supporters behind one of the goals aim monkey chants at Sterling and unused substitute Jude Bellingham, who are Black. Sky Sports showed video footage of one spectator giving the abuse.
England coach Gareth Southgate said he didn’t see the racist abuse and neither did his players, as far as he knew. However, he said: “It sounds like there have been incidents ... and it is completely unacceptable. Everything has been reported to UEFA.”
The English Football Association said it was “asking FIFA to investigate the matter.”
FIFA had no immediate comment.
Hungary was playing in front of its supporters around two months after UEFA ordered the team to play three games without fans — one of which was suspended for a probationary period of two years — as a punishment for what was termed “discriminatory” behavior by its supporters at all three of its Euro 2020 group games.
Those behind-closed-doors games have to be in UEFA competition, though. World Cup qualifiers are organized by FIFA.
“It’s disappointing,” Kane said of the allegations. “We are here to enjoy ourselves, to put on a show for all these fans, home or away. It’s a shame had to act like that. We just hope UEFA come down properly.”
England secured a fourth straight victory in Group I to extend its lead to five points on the road to qualifying for Qatar.
Poland is second after beating Albania 4-1 while Andorra earned its first win by beating fellow minnow San Marino 2-0 at home.
Fifty-three days after that heartbreaking penalty-shootout loss to Italy at Wembley Stadium, England started slowly at Puskas Arena after being loudly booed inside by a 60,000-strong crowd of mostly Hungarian fans for the anti-racism gesture of taking a knee before kickoff.
Sterling put England ahead in the 55th minute by sidefooting home Mason Mount’s cross and as he celebrated near the corner flag to the right of the goal -- revealing an under-shirt with an apparent tribute to a friend -- cups came raining down on the Manchester City winger and his teammates who came to congratulate him.
Declan Rice even pretended to take a sip from one of them.
Kane headed in a cross form Sterling in the 63rd before Maguire nodded home a corner from Luke Shaw, the ball squirming out of Hungary goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi’s grasp.
Cups and then a flare landed on the field of play after Maguire’s goal.
Gulacsi then let a long-range shot from Rice go under his body and into the net in the 87th, completing the win.
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