Slovakia boss responds to furious Declan Rice incident and explains what happened

Francesco Calzona and Declan Rice were involved in a post-match altercation
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)

Slovakia manager Francesco Calzona has said that England midfielder Declan Rice apologised to him following their heated exchange at Euro 2024 on Sunday.

Calzona appeared to shove Rice in the chest after the Three Lions secured a dramatic extra-time victory over Slovakia in Gelsenkirchen. Gareth Southgate's side came from behind to win 2-1 after goals from Jude Bellingham and Harry Kane cancelled out Ivan Schranz's first-half opener.

And temperatures seemed to increase after the full-time whistle when Rice and Calzona came to blows. According to lipreader Jeremy Freeman, a furious Rice is alleged to have told Calzona, who stormed onto the pitch to speak to the referee, to: "Shut up, p***y, oi, shut up, you bald ****."

Calzona later revealed he wanted to speak to the officials at full-time to complain about their inability to punish England's time-wasting tactics during extra-time. "Rice was supposed to go to the referees and leave," Calzona said. "I had to speak to the refs and he wasn't leaving, he carried on. But then he apologised and it was all fine. I didn't like the way the England team were wasting time and not punished."

Meanwhile, Rice did not comment about the incident in his post-match interview but instead decided to praise his team for the attitude they showed to come from behind and win. "There's that inner fight and spirit in us [that] a few Slovakian players before the game said that we didn't have," he said.

"We've got that togetherness, we proved that tonight. We'd do anything to protect this manager, protect each other. We'll keep going and keep fighting and what we've got as a group tonight showed out there. It's an honour to be a part of it and we're going to give it everything."

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There was another incident that caused some controversy after the game. Bellingham was forced to speak out over misinformation spreading on social media regarding his goal celebration. An account on X claimed that the 21-year-old gestured in his crotch region towards the opposition dugout after his equaliser.

He quote tweeted the claim and said: "(yawn emoji and red cross emoji) An inside joke gesture towards some close friends who were at the game. Nothing but respect for how that Slovakia team played tonight (handshake emoji)."