England thrashed Bulgaria 6-0 in their Euro 2020 qualifier, after two stoppages in play due to racist abuse from several Bulgarian supporters.
Goals from Marcus Rashford, Harry Kane, and a brace each for Raheem Sterling and Ross Barkley ensured a dominant win for the Lions, but the score did not dominate the headlines.
The first half saw two stoppages in play due to racist abuse from Bulgarian supporters, including Nazi salutes and monkey chants aimed at Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling and Aston Villa’s Tyrone Mings.
Officials warned the supporters of the possibility of the abandonment of the game if there were further incidents after the first stoppage on 28 minutes. There was then a second stoppage just before the interval, with the England players ready to walk off the pitch.
The Vasil Levski Stadium in Sofia had already been partially closed off to supporters following several racist incidents in the past, but Bulgarian head coach Krasimir Balakov claimed he “didn’t hear” the racist abuse from the supporters, having previously claimed that England had a worse problem than Bulgaria regarding racism in football.
On the pitch, England shone through the darkness of the abhorrent abuse from the fans. Marcus Rashford opened the scoring on seven minutes with a superb strike, before Ross Barkley scored a tap-in and then headed home Kieran Trippier’s expertly delivered cross.
Raheem Sterling then added a fourth on the stroke of half-time, before doubling his account on 69 minutes.
Captain Harry Kane completed the rout with five minutes to go of an extremely one-sided encounter.