By Chris Wright
England U21s qualified for Euro 2013 with a slender 1-0 win over Serbia in Krusevac last night, though the match – settled by Connor Wickham’s injury-time winner – ended amid nauseating scenes, with Danny Rose sent-off after the final whistle having been riled by a hail of monkey chants from the terraces.
The FA has reported a list as long as your arm of all the incidents, both racist and otherwise, to UEFA. England midfielder Jordan Henderson also documented some of the trouble faced, telling BBC Sport:
“There was a lot of racist abuse out there from the stands and a lot going on after the game. There were also stones, coins and seats getting thrown at us.
“What happened wasn’t nice and is not called for in football. 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.”
Rose was actually sent off for kicking a water bottle (at least that what it looked like in the replays, though it may have been a football) into the crowd in retaliation to the provocation he’d suffered all night.
There are also reports emanating from the press circles present at the game that there were scuffles in the tunnel, with the Serbian conditioning coach “getting in England players’ faces”, while Jack Butland was “peppered with missiles” all night, that manager Stuart Pearce had a stadium seat thrown at him and that “punches, headbutts and God knows what else” were thrown at the end of the game.
Of course this isn’t the first time Serbia have been reprimanded for such abhorrent behaviour. Back in 2007, the Serbian Football Federation were fined £16,000 after their fans racially taunted Nedum Onouha at the U21 European Championship in Holland.
Here’s hoping UEFA see fit to punish Serbia and their contingent of troglodyte fans to the full exten… sorry, we couldn’t finish that thought due to the sudden onset of the crushing inevitability that Serbia will get off ridiculously lightly with a paltry fine and another superficial slap on the wrist.
Reckon Danny Rose’s red card will be rescinded? Or was it he who really brought the game into disrepute last night?