England sealed their passage to the Under-21 European Championships Finals in Israel next summer with a 1-0 win away at Serbia on Tuesday night, however the victory was horrifically stained by unacceptable images of violence at the full time whistle.
The match exploded deep into injury time after a last-gasp England counter-attack saw Sunderland’s Connor Wickham apply the final touch to the Young Lions qualification campaign.
On confirming their progression past the Serbs the England players immediately celebrated in unison on the sidelines, however that moment was shattered when England’s youngsters came under a barrage of missile and insults hurled from the home crowd.
In the midst of the mayhem fans, coaches, and players from both sides became embroiled in ugly scenes involving pushing and shoving. That was only the beginning of the trouble though, as Tottenham defender Danny Rose soon found himself collecting a second yellow card for smacking the ball in anger.
As explained by BBC Sport commentator Alistair Bruce-Ball:
Danny Rose got separated from the group and then he clearly got involved in a slanging match with some spectators. He felt he was being racially abused and there was stuff being thrown at him. Then some of the Serbian players and staff piled in – they didn’t like Rose having a go at their fans. Then it turned into a mass brawl.
England very sensibly tried to get off the pitch as quickly as they could. Danny Rose was actually sent off and as he left the pitch he was mimicking a monkey by sticking his arms underneath his armpits. (See the above picture.) He was very clearly making the point that it was very clever, this racial abuse.
We are going to see quite how hard, or not, Uefa come down on this. I have never seen anything quite like that.
Watch footage of Connor Wickham’s goal & Danny Rose’s red card below.