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England cruised to a 4-0 victory over Hungary to maintain their 100 per cent record in World Cup qualifying – but racist chanting from the Budapest crowd overshadowed this evening’s one-sided encounter.
Loud boos and jeers were heard as Gareth Southgate’s players took a knee prior to kick-off and the hostile atmosphere intensified as Raheem Sterling was struck with several objects thrown from the stand while celebrating his 55th opener.
The Three Lions tightened their grip at the top of Group I thanks to a flurry of goals from Harry Kane, Harry Maguire and Declan Rice in a dominant second-half display at the Puskas Arena.
But England’s impressive win – their first match since the Euro 2020 final – was marred by the sight of both Sterling and Luke Shaw being pelted with missiles in the second half.
Subsequent reports of monkey chanting from the ultras section of the ground further soured an otherwise positive away performance from Southgate’s men on their journey to Qatar.
With around ten minutes remaining of the clash, ITV pitchside reporter, Gabriel Clarke, indicated that both Sterling and Jude Bellingham had been subjected to racist chanting.
‘There have been missiles thrown and I’m sad to report there has been some monkey chanting from supporters in the ultras section directed, at first, at Raheem Sterling and then at Jude Bellingham when he was warming up,’ he said.
‘I’m not sure whether the players heard any of that but the Hungarian FA have warned fans not to do this.
‘But it has been audible and it has been visible.’
Three Lions captain Kane was not aware of the chanting during the game but hopes Uefa ‘come down strong’ on the culprits.
‘I didn’t hear that. I will talk to the boys and see if they heard any of it,’ the Tottenham striker said in his post-match interview with ITV Sport.
‘We will have to report it to Uefa as the rules permit. If that is the case, hopefully Uefa come down strong.’
England defender Maguire added: ‘I have spoken to a couple of lads, I did not hear them myself and if it did happen then I am disappointed. Three, four of us did not hear them but you guys can hear them more clearly on TV.’
Talk of such scenes coming to fruition dominated pre-match discussion, with Hungary ordered to play their next three Uefa competition games behind closed doors due to racist abuse and homophobic banners at the stadium during Euro 2020.
However, a full-capacity 60,000 home crowd packed into the stands tonight as the qualifier was being played under Fifa jurisdiction.
Source: Metro Sport