On Monday night, England hammered Montenegro 5-1 in Podgorica in their second Euro 2020 qualifier. The Three Lions recorded a victory courtesy of goals from Michael Keane, Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling and a brace from Ross Barkley.
Unfortunately, the scoreline was not the main talking points of the game. The main talking point of the game is that England’s black players Raheem Sterling, Danny Rose and Callum Hudson-Odoi received racist abuse during the game.
There needs to be action taken
It is incredible that black players still get racial abuse from football fans. We all know that there is still a poisonous section of our society that still discriminates against people not like them. Some people’s attitudes will never change.
However, as a football community, we need to stamp out racism from our football stadiums. I have heard the argument before from some that certain countries have different attitudes towards ethnic minorities.
The excuse of cultural differences does not wash with me. If those countries cannot control their fans then maybe UEFA or FIFA should take the step of banning those countries from competitions.
If their country was banned from competition, I am sure the football authorities in those countries would soon sit up and take notice. It is 2019 and there is no room for racial abuse in society or football stadiums.
Players maintained great dignity
England’s black players showed great dignity and restraint in the face of such ridiculous behaviour. The players did let their feet do the talking on the pitch by hammering the home team.
Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling has been highly vocal on the subject of racism since receiving abuse at Chelsea earlier this season. The 24-year-old has emerged as a role model and champion of black players in England.
Sterling has had to handle a lot of abuse throughout his England career and has maintained his dignity. A hate campaign drummed up by a certain moronic British newspaper has failed to break his spirit and he has become one of England’s most important players.
Sterling kept his cool on the pitch, as did Rose and Hudson-Odoi who were the other targets of the abuse. What was brilliant was Hudson-Odoi’s interview after the game. At 18-years of age, the Chelsea winger spoke calm and concisely about the subject.
The youngster showed a level of maturity which seems to have been beyond a minority of the Montenegro fans in the stadium on Monday night. Hudson-Odoi even stated he was going to check on Danny Rose, which showed tremendous maturity.
It was a shame that the abuse overshadowed Hudson-Odoi’s exciting full debut for the Three Lions. It seems unlikely that Montenegro will be last team on the receiving the end of such a display at international level from the youngster.
England look set to cruise the group
On the pitch, England are looking in good shape. The Three Lions started the qualifying campaign as the favourites to win their qualifying group. In fact, Gareth Southgate are now one of the favourites to win the competition.
The team now seems to have some real momentum after their performances at the World Cup and the Nations League qualifiers. The Three Lions are certainly going in the right direction, especially with so many exciting young players they look to have a bright future.
What punishment should abusive fans in Montenegro receive?