A topless streaker halts Sunday night’s England match against Romania after fans boo players’ knee stance prior to kick off.
BBC Sport chief football writer Phil McNulty, who was at Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium, said there was loud and prolonged jeering mixed with plenty of applause before the game.
Former England defender Stephen Warnock, speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live, added: “The boos came and then it was overcrowded by the claps.
“We’re very clear on our stand – we’re very clear that we’re totally with the players. We’re united as a staff and playing group.”
— ITV Football (@itvfootball) June 6, 2021
“I agree with Gareth. He’s trying to do what’s right for the players and spoke excellently about it this week and we heard from the fans there that the majority of fans agree with what the players are doing.”
McNulty added: “There was a very, very mixed reaction to England’s players taking the knee before kick-off here inside The Riverside Stadium. Loud and prolonged jeering mixed with plenty of applause.”
Speaking on Saturday, Southgate said: “We accept there might be an adverse reaction, and we’re just going to ignore that and move forward.
“Those people should put themselves in the shoes of the young players.
“How would they feel if their kids were in that situation?
“We did discuss if there is a better way of doing this. Is there more an impactful way now of doing this?
“Perhaps moving forward there probably is, but at this moment in time, given what happened the other day, we were not prepared to make a backward step.
“We feel that would be wrong and we would be bowing to pressure from outside and we don’t think that is appropriate. We are united on that as a full team.”
— Carrie Brown 💙 (@CarrieBrownTV) June 6, 2021
Ian Wright was proud of Southgate’s words and speaking ahead of Romania game said: “I’m very proud of Gareth.
“They’re taking the knee to highlight the injustice, it’s a symbolic gesture.
“The excuses they [booing fans] are using for why they’re booing are disingenuous.”
Meanwhile to the game, it was a good start from Romania but England did manage to get a foothold in the game.
On the 10th minute, there was a nice combination from England down the left, skipper Marcus Rashford exchanged passes with Jack Grealish but the Villa man’s low cross was blocked.
Jack Grealish’s influence on the game began to grow, shifting the ball left and right in the area and attracting plenty of white Romanian shirts.
Some lovely early touches from Grealish, who has picked up where he left off on Wednesday night, and also from James Ward-Prowse, who is one of those hoping to be a beneficiary of Trent Alexander-Arnold’s injury.
On the 19th minute, Marcus Rashford went to collect the ball from the side of the pitch and there appeared to be a little kid playing on his phone.
Not remotely interested in what’s happening on the pitch. Eek.
Marcus Rashford wanted a penalty on the 24th minute as he went tumbling in the box, but Romanian counterpart Vlad Chiriches timed his tackle well.
There was another opportunity for Romania, a comfortable save for Sam Johnstone as he dropped down to his right to smother Constantin Paun’s scissor-kick style strike from 30 yards out.
James Ward-Prowse swung in a free-kick which Dominic Calvert-Lewin meets with a thumping header which crashes against the crossbar.
England hit the woodwork again shortly after when Jadon Sancho showcased his potential by drifting to the left for more sniffs at goal. Curled a sumptuous strike from just inside the area against the crossbar.
On the 40th minute, a pitch invader! A man without a t-shirt runs onto the pitch and is swiftly dragged away by security. Fans chanted “you fat bastard!”.
The half ended, with the second currently being played out.
— Daily Star Sport (@DailyStar_Sport) June 6, 2021
At the beginning of the second half England came across jittery everytime the ball came into their box.
No-one in a blue shirt could clear Razvan Marin’s low cross and the chance was eventually lost.
England again were all over the place at the back shortly after.
Marcus Rashford the guilty party this occasion with a mis-cued header which fell for Sorescu Deian Cristian at the far post, but the strike drifted wide of the far post.
Another chance for Romania, who looked the more likely to find a goal in the friendly.
Alexandru Cicaldau should have made it 1-0 against the Three Lions but screwed a left-footed shot wide from the left edge of the box.
Really don’t need these sort of defensive performance heading into a major tournament.
On the 61st minute, Marcus Rashford got a glimmer, breaking forward from the halfway line but on his weaker left foot he scuffed wide.
Then on the 67th minute, England were awarded a penalty after sub Tiberui Capusa tugged down Grealish. Marcus Rashford stepped up and scored lowly with the keeper just standing there.
England were awarded a second penalty 10 minutes later, Jordan Henderson the taker on this occasion, but had his spot kick saved with the keeper going the right way.
— ITV Football (@itvfootball) June 6, 2021
— ITV Football (@itvfootball) June 6, 2021
England manager Gareth Southgate on ITV: “Yes, we had chances to make it more comfortable but so did they, the first half we did not work hard enough without the ball, we were too stretched and did not press well. After half-time, I thought we improved and it was helpful we went to 4-3-3 later and I have to say it was a good exercise, players needed the minutes and learned a lot from the game. Good to win.
On whether Jack Grealish will start v Croatia: “We have a lot of competition in those areas of the field and he has had a important contribution to win the penalty. He is in the frame with several others.”
On Jordan Henderson’s penalty miss: “We had Marcus Rashford on penalties then James Ward-Prowse but both came off. We expected Dominic Calvert-Lewin to take it and I was expecting Hendo to go over to him and let him take it. We will pull rank next time.”
On who will replace Trent Alexander-Arnold in the squad: “We just want to check how we are after the game medically, check we have nothing to go through and will make the decision over the next 24 hours. I will keep my powder dry for now.”
Fans quickly took to social media to comment as the topless streaker halts the England match after fans boo the players’ knee stance once again…
@mrfrogmiller: Itv apologising for the crowd singing ‘you fat bastard’. No one ever apologises when I’m called one 😂😂😂
@CosmoKhan: England fans will happily cheer a braindead, naked streaker but boo the players taking the knee in protest of racial injustice. Bunch of absolute morons
@CafcBen2021: Pitch invader most interesting part of the game so far #ENGROM
@MJHassam167: Who is it that tells commentators to apologise for “obscene” language from fans picked up on the mics? Just heard @itvfootball commentators for the @England game apologise for the fans shouting YOU FAT BASTARD at a streaker…It’s surely not out of the goodness of their hearts..
@rileyyukk: hahaha some fucking streaker in the England game
@Matt_Rowney: Fans booing the knee, streaker running onto the pitch. Stay classy Boro, stay classy….
@adamtdale: You know you’re watching England when a streaker gets the biggest cheer of the half
@SamJeffery94: Second England international game back with crowds allowed in the stadium and there is a streaker… makes you proud to be English doesn’t it #ENGROM
@GreyhoundKeston: Commentator at England game apologizes for ‘any bad language we might have heard from the crowd’ following a streaker . No apologies for the 45 minutes of my life I’ll never get back watching the pile of **** I’ve just had to endure ?
If UEFA really want to solve football’s problems, they’ll make it impossible and perhaps even illegal for TV directors to cut away when there’s a streaker on the pitch
— Paddy Power (@paddypower) June 6, 2021
From the FA’s website for those who still think it’s political… pic.twitter.com/dFzIavN88A
— Elliot Morgan (@El_Morg) June 6, 2021
And neither will booing it
— James (@HiThereImJames) June 6, 2021
Good message in life that. If at first you don’t succeed, just give up and never try again.
— UpThePool (@OxfordSeasider) June 6, 2021
@LiamDoel: What does it do to help combat racism though, like seriously? It’s just virtue signalling at this point.
@jackp593: I think there is confusion because despite Gareth saying taking the knee is against racism, it was originally in support of BLM which a lot of people do not support.
@pball92: If you’re booing people trying to show solidarity against racism, you’re the reason they’re kneeling in the first place.
@Fred__CFC: It’s causing more bad than good from what I’m seeing
@Ellis01Steve: Let’s get this right, people are pissed off because they are kneeling so they boo, and people who are kneeling are pissed off because those people who are pissed off are booing haha the world has gone mad haha love it
@toffeegirl1979: If you don’t stand with them then you stand against them, those people are showing themselves. They’re a disgrace. I hope the England players know that, whilst they are booed by some, they actually have a lot of support from others.