Given the history and structure of claims and counterclaims, with the temperature rising around this Euro 2020 qualifier, it was easy to fear the worst. But when it happened, when the monkey songs against Tyrone Mings started from part of the Bulgarian support, it could only cause shock and disgust.
Mings, who would have enjoyed the thrill of wearing the English shirt, was not the only black player to be targeted for the first time. Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford also heard the disgusting sounds, which meant that England's victory was quickly turned into a footnote.
Gareth Southgate and his players wanted to show that they are fit after the 1
It was deeply troubling to just watch from the stadium as the skin crawls when one of the black players of England comes on the ball in anticipation of what might happen, and so God knows, like Mings, Sterling and Rashford could carry on. After the chants started, Sterling gilded the scoreline with two smart finishes. Raheem Sterling, "sang the British support.
Southgate had made it clear that he and his players would follow the three-stage Uefa protocol, and they did Sound system announced to call the chants to stop, and when that was not the case, referee Ivan Bebek interrupted the game just before the break and asked Southgate if he wanted to get the players into the dressing room.
Southgate said he wanted There was an opportunity for England not to return, but according to Greg Clarke, the chairman of the Football Association, the players wanted to start again and they did not want the racists to win.
England's last visit to this stadium in 2011 for a Euro qualifier was of monkey songs from the crowd against Ashley Cole, Ashle y Young and Theo Walcott have been drafted. So much for the progress made by the President of the Bulgarian Football Union, Borislav Mikhailov, last week. After half-time there was clearly audible monkey singing against Sterling in the 56th minute, but England could continue to fight.
It was a night in which the only hope before the game was that nothing unappetizing happened outside the field. Tensions simmering in a semi-empty stadium – and bringing with them sounds – hope would quickly dissipate.
It was 24 minutes on the stadium clock when Harry Kane started a conversation with the referee, Ivan Bebek and Southgate also did it with the Uefa official on the sideline. A moment later, the announcement about the public address crackled, which was step one of Uefa's anti-racism protocol. The voice made it clear that the game would be "suspended and possibly broken" if the racist chants did not stop.
It was not difficult to pick out the monkey songs after Mings had played a pass-out-of-defense and it was clear that the English debutant had listened to them, because he had turned to one part of the crowd, quiet for a moment stood and stared. Mings has always dreamed of playing for England. This was a nightmare.
This should be a glorious occasion for the Aston Villa Center Half, the fulfillment of a childhood dream. How it got sour.
The stadium holds 44,000 spectators and reduced capacity by 5,000 as a penalty for the conduct of Bulgarian support in the June qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Kosovo, which were considered racist. The locked area behind one of the gates was adorned with anti-racist banners. But there were other large amounts of empty seats, which gave the spectacle a somewhat strange appearance.
From the moment Mings was targeted for the first time, the game was no longer a spectacle. It was very nervous. England were leading 2-0 at the time and played well even if the game was a coincidence.
The first goal came from a moment of real quality from Rashford, who demonstrated the statistics he had previously shown, scoring only one goal in open play since March. When he gave Ross Barkley a pass, he interrupted Georgi Pashov and let the defender slip in the wrong direction before he entered and discharged a vicious shot through the grip of Plamen Iliev.
The second was negotiated by Sterling, exchanged the passes with Harry Kane and crossed the gate to give Barkley a hint. The English support sent a roaring song to their Bulgarian rivals: "You racist bastards, you know what you are."
Mings heard more monkey taunts at least twice before the break, and the only miracle was that the players did not leave the field. However, there was a longer break before the break, when Bulgarian captain Ivelin Popov seemed to calm home fans.
England hit twice before the break, and what a pity that she impressed soccer so hollow. Kane picked out Barkley to get past Iliev while Trippier and Kane introduced Sterling. At the time, viewers were wondering just how much the situation worsened and whether the game would end.
Somehow it was like this. The second of sterling was good and Kane rounded off the track with the sixth. Without the resistance of Iliev, it would have been double-digit numbers. The full-time whistle was the only mercy.