Marcus Rashford Sends Message To Bulgaria Captain After He Confronted Racist Fans At Half Time
Marcus Rashford has heaped praise on Bulgarian captain Ivelin Popov for his actions after England players suffered racist abuse in the 6-0 win last night.
England's European Championship qualifier against the hosts was brought to a halt on two occasions in the first half, with Tyrone Mings was subjected to monkey chants in his international debut.
The first two steps of UEFA's three-step protocol were activated at the Vasil Levski Stadium in Sofia after captain Harry Kane informed the referee, who temporarily held up the game just before half-time.
And Popov took it upon himself to speak with fans in the stands and plead with them to stop the abuse.
Bulgaria captain Ivelin Popov had a heated discussion with some Bulgarian fans during the break of tonight's #BULENG qualifier after the match had been stopped twice for racist chants in the first half pic.twitter.com/8u0a1CGcoa
- mshumanov (@shumansko) October 14, 2019
Rashford, who scored the opening goal in the thrashing, found out about Popov's actions after the game and took to Twitter to praise the 31-year old after posting a series of tweets.
Gareth Southgate and the England players elected to play the second half and move on to 15 points in Group A but the win was undoubtedly overshadowed by the abuse from a large group of fans wearing black hoodies, who were also caught on camera doing Nazi salutes.
Southgate was in regular conversation with the officials and was proud of how his players responded to the abhorrent chanting.
"I have to say that the officials were onto everything very quickly," the England boss told ITV post-match.
"We reported everything immediately when we heard things. We had constant communication with the officials and referee and I was in contact with the players during the first half in particular and then again at half-time.
"It's an unacceptable situation. I think we've made two statements really by winning the game but also we have raised the awareness of everybody to the situation.
"The game was stopped twice and I know for some people that won't be enough. But I think we as a group were on board with that process."