Euro 2020: Boos drowned out by applause as England take the knee

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Boos from a “large number” of fans were drowned out by “loud and sustained applause” as England’s players kneeled ahead of their Euro 2020 opening match against Croatia at Wembley.

Boos on Sunday were greeted with ovations by other members of the 22,500 spectators.

Ahead of Euro 2020, England coach Gareth Southgate said his players were “more determined than ever” to bend their knees.

BBC Sport chief football writer Phil McNulty, who is at Wembley, said there was “still booing from a large number of English fans” as the players kneeled before kick-off.

He added, “But the ridicule was also met with loud, sustained applause. Mixed response.”

Speaking to BBC Sport shortly before the Croatia game, Southgate said: “We want this support [from fans], we know we will have it during the game.

“Whatever happens before that is up to the individual, but we know what we’re doing and our focus is entirely on football.”

The players stand up for equality – FA managing directors

Former England defender Rio Ferdinand said ahead of the game on BBC One: “The fans should know that the players and manager have come out several times now and told you the reasons for kneeling.

“It’s not political. Put that aside for now and come and support the boys. This is the start of the tournament. We all want England to do well. Support them and applaud them.”

On Saturday, the FA released a statement urging fans not to boo the players after they were mocked at two warm-up games in Middlesbrough earlier this month.

“They will do their best for you. Please do your best for them,” said the FA.

“We encourage those who oppose this action to consider the message you are sending to the players you support.”

FA boss Mark Bullingham has called England players booing for their knees “incredibly disappointing”.

Meanwhile, England’s Group D rivals the Czech Republic announced on Sunday that they “do not intend” to go on their knees during Euro 2020.

They begin their campaign against Scotland on Monday at Hampden Park (14:00 BST).

Scotland will go to their knees along with England when the teams clash at Wembley on June 18, however will stand against racism in their home group games.


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