Gary Neville defends England fans as UEFA clamp down on booing national anthems

Euro 2020: Neville, Carragher clash over England squad

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Former England defender Gary Neville has jumped to the defence of England fans who booed the Danish national anthem during their Wembley semi-final on Wednesday. The incident prompted punishment from UEFA, who have charged the English FA over three incidents which occurred during the match.

Aside from booing the national anthem, they were also charged with fan-related incidents including setting off flares and pointing a laser pen at Kasper Schmeichel before Harry Kane’s extra-time penalty.

Although the punishments are unknown as yet, the English FA are believed to be in line for a sizeable fine.

UEFA released an official statement on Thursday which read: “Disciplinary proceedings have been opened following the UEFA EURO 2020 semi-final match between England and Denmark (2-1), played on 7 July at Wembley Stadium, London.

“The case will be dealt with by the UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body (CEDB) in due course.”

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Gary Lineker seemingly agreed with the punishment, taking to Twitter to voice his disapproval at the behaviour of a section of England fans.

The former England striker said: “If you’re lucky enough to get a ticket for the final, please, please don’t boo the Italian anthem.

“It’s bloody rude, disrespectful and utterly classless.”

The Italian national anthem in particular has gained notoriety since the start of the tournament for the players’ display of passion and national pride.

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The general response has been one of disapproval when fans are heard booing, although Neville has emerged as one of the only high-profile voices willing to suggest another side to the story.

Neville said via Twitter: “When I played in the different countries and our [national anthem] was booed I always took it as the opposition fans trying to unsettle us, drown our fans out and never as some kind of attack on us as people.

“Same when we did it other teams. Is it really that bad and disrespectful?”

Either way, the mind games seemed to work in England’s favour after they clinched a narrow 2-1 victory over Denmark in extra-time.

The laser pen incident preceded a missed Kane penalty, although he was on hand to convert the rebound and prompted the country to flood out of pubs and houses to line the streets.

The result sets up a final with Italy who battled their way through the tougher half of the tournament draw.

Come Sunday, fan behaviour will be under the spotlight again, although it may take a back seat to the fact that the Three Lions will appear in their first major tournament final since 1966.

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