Racist chants and sickening violence mar England under-21s victory in Serbia

Serbia Under-21 0 England Under-21 1 (England win 2-0 on aggregate)

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 Connor Wickham's winning goal 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 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 revealed after the game. "I never like to see any football matches end like that. This is a sporting arena."

Pearce also confirmed 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 afterwards. "They've been reported to Uefa by us, it's in their hands now, they'll have to deal with that."

England captain Jordan Henderson also condemned the abuse. "There was a lot of racist abuse out there from the stands and a lot going on after the game, which is hard to take for the players," he said.

"There was also stones, coins and seats getting thrown at us. I didn't understand why Danny Rose was sent off at the end - I didn't see he did anything wrong, other than get abused."

Although the final scenes were ugly, Pearce was proud of how his young team conducted themselves under provocation from the hosts. "It's very sad," Pearce said. "But we're united as a team and as a staff at Under-21 level. A lot's 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 real close game between two good teams."

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."

Pearce will now lead England Under-21s to Israel next summer for their fourth consecutive European Championship under his management. Taking a 1-0 lead to Serbia, England were under pressure for most of the game.

Birmingham City goalkeeper Jack Butland had to make a series of good saves. Centre-backs Steven Caulker and Craig Dawson had to work hard but England recorded their sixth clean sheet in seven matches.

Butland first had to save Nikola Ninkovic's shot and then from Darko Lazovic. An England side built on solid defence and pace on the break struggled to keep the ball as waves of Serbian attacks continued through the second half.

In stoppage time Serbia, needing one goal to take the tie to extra time, sent their goalkeeper forward for a set piece. England cleared the ball and Tom Ince broke down the right wing and set up Wickham to roll the winning goal into an empty net.

"We've come away from home, at a really difficult place to play and built on our lead from the first leg," a relieved Pearce said. "So I'm massively proud of the players and their achievement, they had to defend stoutly, so credit to them for that. The important thing, when the dust settles is that we're going to the championship next summer because we deserve to do so over two legs. We've given a good account of ourselves."

Race wars: England's abuse

Oct 2002, Slovakia v England

Ashley Cole and Emile Heskey targeted by Slovakian fans.

Nov 2004, Spain v England

Shaun Wright-Phillips and Cole subjected to monkey chants at the Bernabeu. Spanish FF fined £44,750.

June 2007, Eng U21 v Serbia U21

Serbian fans and players abuse Nedum Onuoha and Justin Hoyte.

Sept 2008, Croatia v England

Croatian Federation fined £15,000 after monkey chants aimed at Heskey in World Cup qualifier in Zagreb.

Sept 2011, Bulgaria v England

Bulgarian FA fined £32,000 following abuse towards Ashley Young during Euro 2012 qualifier in Sofia.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific