Barbarous hooliganism has reappeared at Euro 2016, to sour it for everyone. English hooligans have been for a long time football’s disgrace, the stick used by those who wished to attack the sport. For some years they’ve made less noise, caused less harm, but they’re now filling the news bulletins around the world with terrible images from the Old Port in Marseille, one of Europe’s iconic locations. Their unwarranted brutality has shocked us all and forced the French security forces into extra efforts, distracting them from their major operation against ISIS.
These undesirables even demanded to fight ISIS, in their alcoholic delirium. A mixture of ignorance, in-built brutality and beer topped up with gin is explosive. As far as I’m concerned they can chuck England out of the Euros right now. When the Liverpool fans provoked the deaths of more than 30 peaceful Juve supporters in Heysel UEFA kicked all English clubs out of European competition for five years. An extreme, unrefined punishment, but it worked. The problem was reduced for years. And now it’s back I don’t see any reason to put up with it again.
England played with the embarrassment of their barbarous hordes weighing them down. And didn’t have much to offer. Insistent football with no inspiration up front (something from Lallana, but little more), Rooney still adapting to his new role, two good full backs…enough to go ahead through a Dier free-kick, but that wasn’t enough. After the goal they let up and the punishment was a header in time added on from big Berezutski, to leave the game as a draw. That, together with the Welsh beating Slovakia puts the spotlight on England-Wales on Thursday. I’d recommend they play it on their island. And stay there.