England players booed as they take the knee before Hungary World Cup qualifier in Budapest

·2-min read
 (The FA via Getty Images)
(The FA via Getty Images)

England’s players faced loud boos and whistles as they took the knee ahead of Thursday’s 2022 World Cup qualifier against Hungary in Budapest.

There had been fears leading up to the clash that the crowd inside the Puskas Arena would protest against the gesture - and that was realised with boos reverberating around the stadium before kick-off.

England’s players remain adamant they will continue to show support for the fight against racism and discrimination by taking the knee before all games.

And Kalvin Phillips spoke this week about the belief within the camp that they were beginning to win the battle after being jeered by sections of their own support leading up to and during the Euros in the summer.

The midfielder said: “I just know that us as a group know we’ll carry on taking the knee because it’s important for us, important for our country and to fight racial abuse.

“It’s hard to say we’re starting to win, but we’re going in the right direction. The boos at Middlesbrough were disappointing and heartbreaking for us, but as time went on, the more vocal we were that we were going to take the knee and support what we believe in. I think a lot of fans understood that and they did switch the other way and carried on cheering for us.”

Hungary have been ordered by Uefa to play three home matches behind closed doors as a result of “discriminatory behaviour” by supporters at Euro 2020.

The third game of that three-match ruling will be suspended for a probationary period of two years, while the Hungarian Football Federation have also been fined €100,000.

Uefa also ordered that a banner with the message “#EqualGame” and featuring the Uefa logo on it be displayed during those two matches in Budapest.

Uefa’s ruling - which does not apply to 2022 World Cup qualifiers, which fall under Fifa’s remit - comes after they appointed an ethics and disciplinary inspector to investigate “potential discriminatory incidents” during the 2-2 Euro 2020 Group F draw with Hungary in Munich on June 23.

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