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Harry Kane, Gareth Southgate Slam Hungary Fans for 'Racist Chants' Against England Players

England's Harry Kane reacts during the Euro 2020 final soccer match between Italy and England at Wembley stadium in London, Sunday, 11 July 2021.
© AP Photo / Facundo Arrizabalaga

This is not the first time Raheem Sterling and Jude Bellingham have been subjected to racist abuse from fans. Earlier, the duo had faced racial slurs during England's Euro 2020 campaign and were treated like villains by home supporters after their failure to secure the country's maiden European Championship title.

England skipper Harry Kane, manager Gareth Southgate, pundits and a number of fans have slammed Hungary supporters for their racist chants during their World Cup qualifying clash on Thursday.

While both Kane and Southgate called for strict action from the game's governing body FIFA, England supporters hailed their team for putting up a spectacular show, which saw their side defeat the hosts 4-0 amid the racially charged atmosphere in Budapest.

Monkey chants reverberated across Puskas Ferenc Stadium whenever Raheem Sterling and Jude Bellingham got close to the ball, but the tensions inside the England Camp escalated to unprecedented heights after plastic cups were thrown at Sterling as he opened the scoring for the Three Lions.

Reacting to the racial abuse of his players from the hostile crowd, the English skipper appealed for "strong" action against the Hungarian fans.

"I didn't hear it," Kane told British media after the match.

"I'll talk to the boys and see if they heard it. We'll have to report it to UEFA as the rules permit and if it was the case then hopefully UEFA can come down strong," he added.

Right from the beginning, the Hungarians booed the England players for 'taking the knee' as a pro-black gesture during the playing of the anthem before the actual kick-off.

However, the mood inside the packed arena became more aggressive once Sterling scored England's opening goal in the 55th minute, as projectiles were thrown at the visiting players, a flare was aimed at the pitch, and beer cups were pelted at Sterling.  

The environment continued to heat up as the Hungarian supporters continued their monkey chants on throughout the second half, when England scored all their four goals.  

Just like Kane, Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate was left disappointed with Thursday night's incidents and condemned the racial abuse of his players.

"There's no more this group of players or staff can do in the fight against racism," England's manager said. "Other people have got to take the right action to try and make progress."

"Our players can't do anything more than they have done in the past two or three years in trying to get the right messages out, take the right stands, and it's for other people to protect them. It's for me to protect them in the main, but for the authorities to protect them as well," he added.

"They shouldn't have to be subjected to any form of racism. There’s a balance in the crowd. As we know at home not everybody causes problems. Tonight our anthem was really respected remarkably well."

"It's not fair to criticise all the Hungarian fans. A lot were very generous and behaved extremely well. The individuals that are responsible need to be dealt with. I think there's some evidence that people have been filmed and we've got to hope the authorities deal with that in the right way," Southgate concluded.

Meanwhile, Arsenal legend and sports commentator Ian Wright hit out at FIFA and UEFA over their lacklustre approach towards dealing with unruly behaviour, insisting that football's governing bodies simply don't care about taking the problem head on.

"You can't believe that two organisations can't get together and ban them," Wright told ITV.

"Black players will know that they're probably going to get racially abused. As soon as Sterling gets fouled, it's embarrassing, don't know what to say about FIFA and UEFA, they don't care enough, they don't care enough," he said.

While the behaviour of the Hungarian crowd made the headlines, English fans were effusive in praise of their players. With their lopsided 4-0 triumph, which was powered by goals from Sterling, Kane, Harry Maguire and Declan Rice, England managed to maintain their 100 percent winning record in Group I.

Kane and his team's admirers not only lauded their performance, but also rebuked the racial abuse, which was pointed at them. Some of their fans even said that they were in "love" with the team as their side never takes the "s***" aimed at them.

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