England reached next summer's European Under-21 Championship last night but it was marred by racism and violence from Serbian players and fans at the final whistle.
Danny Rose was subject to monkey chants at the end of the match – which England won 1-0 – and was sent off after reacting angrily and kicking a water bottle. England players were bombarded by missiles as they celebrated the winning goal from Connor Wickham, right, in added time. There was a mass brawl between players and staff from both sides, spilling over into the tunnel. The England coach, Steve Wigley, was among those who had to be restrained as everyone tried to leave the pitch in the Mladost Stadium in Krusevac.
The England manager, Stuart Pearce, confirmed afterwards that his left-back Rose had been racially abused and that England have reported the incident. Rose appeared to mimic a monkey gesture back to the stands as he left the pitch, visibly distressed.
"I think there was one or two racist incidents from the crowd," Pearce said. "They've been reported to Uefa by us, it's in their hands now, they'll have to deal with that. The authorities will deal with any problems tonight."
Pearce also confirmed that there had been an apology from a Serbian official. "Savo Milosevic, their technical director, has come to our dressing room to apologise for any behaviour that was unsavoury," Pearce added. "I never like to see any football matches end like that. This is a sporting arena."
Although the final scenes were ugly, Pearce was proud of how his young team conducted themselves under intense and unpleasant provocation from the hosts. "It's very sad," Pearce said. "But we're united as a team and as a staff. A lot is happening in our country regarding stamping out racism. We're proud of the reaction of our players towards the end. It's a real shame, over two ties it was a close game between two good teams. It's a shame it was soured in the last few minutes."
An FA statement confirmed the association has lodged a complaint with Uefa: "The FA condemns both the scenes of racism and the confrontation at the final whistle during which time our players and staff were under extreme provocation. The FA has reported a number of incidents of racism to Uefa following the fixture. These were seemingly aimed at a number of England black players by the crowd. The matter is now with Uefa."
- More about:
- Berkshire, England
- Bristol (england)
- Drinking Water
- Essex, England
- New Cross
- Stuart Pearce
- Tottenham Hotspur