England qualifying victory overshadowed by racism.

England claimed victory in Montenegro.

It was the first time the world cup semi-finalists had won five consecutive games under manager Gareth Southgate.

England start euro 2020 qualifying with back-to-back wins.

The England Manager chose another youthful side to take to Montenegro, after demolishing Czech Republic 5-0 at Wembley just four days prior, but the performance has been overshadowed once again by racism, a common re-occurrence this season.

Teenagers Callum Hudson-Odoi and Declan Rice were handed full international debuts as Southgate stuck with youth following standout substitute performances from them at Wembley and starts for Ben Chilwell and Jadon Sancho, who both shone.

England were stunned 17 minutes into the match. Marko Vešović curled the hosts into a shock lead after their stubborn resolve kept England at bay after absorbing a lot of pressure from the Three Lions, before taking their first chance calmly.

England were forced to respond to the team 41 places below them in the world rankings, and did so by scoring twice in nine minutes. First when Defender Michael Keane headed in at the far post, before Ross Barkley redirected in Odoi’s goalbound effort.

Barkley put the game beyond doubt when he converted Raheem Sterling’s cutback just before the hour mark. Sterling again turned provider 12 minutes later, playing the ball for Harry Kane to slot home after an pinpoint counter move.

Sterling who scored his first ever international hat-trick in his last match, completed the rout himself, neatly tucking the ball home with ten minutes to go after running on to a through ball. However, his performance would not be the only reason that the coveted Manchester City winger would Make headlines.

Racist chanting could be heard toward the end of the game from home supporters aimed at black England players and heard by Danny Rose as well as Sterling, who reacted as tempers frayed in the Montenegrin capital, Podgorica.

“Our part will be to make sure that process is followed, but more importantly for me is that the players in the dressing room know that as a group of staff and as an organisation we’re there for them. That’s the most important thing.”

Gareth Southgate – post-match interview
Sterling Responds on social media to the events in Montenegro.

This is not the first time, Sterling has been the recipient of Racial abuse, after being verbally attacked by Chelsea supporters earlier in the season. Sterling has also being leading the fight against how black footballers are treated by English media and been praised for his Integrity and maturity.

Governing bodies FIFA and UEFA will no doubt investigate yet another racist incident in Eastern Europe with England’s U-21’s being involved in a mass brawl against Serbia’s U-21’s after victory in Belgrade in 2012. Players, pundits and fans alike have been horrified that this has being allowed to happen continuously without sanctions or reprimand for those involved.

“The campaign to eliminate racism, discrimination and intolerance from football has become a major priority for UEFA in recent years – and the European body makes full use of its high-profile platforms to send out a key and unequivocal message: No to Racism.”

No to Racism- UEFA.com

England will play the Netherlands on 6th June in the Nations League semi-final in Lisbon, hoping to set up a final in the same city against either Portugal or Switzerland. Their next European qualifying match is on 7th September when they welcome Bulgaria to Wembley, before hosting Kosovo three days later.

As of this afternoon, UEFA have officially charged Montenegro following the claims made against them, and are awaiting a punishment. UEFA, at this time, have refused to comment on what that may be.


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